Epiphany in Paris

Epiphany in Paris: Inspiration of Many Kinds

January 6 is Epiphany, when the Magi or Kings of Orient arrive at the manger bearing gifts. Or so the legend goes.

One of the more unusual Nativity Scenes (creches) in Paris: ecumenical, global, mixed (media and ethnicity).

Epiphany is defined in many ways today, and most have little enough to do with religious tradition. Even those who know what the Epiphany is all about for Christians nowadays express their Epiphany scenes is different, novel ways.

Another one of the more unusual Nativity Scenes (creches) in Paris: ecumenical, global, mixed (media and ethnicity), with a distinctly Jewish flavor.

“We are the World” might be the overall title for these unusual, sometimes funny, sometimes moving or bizarre Nativity Scenes, all displayed in the windows of an unidentified corner building in Paris’ 5th Arrondissement, near the church of Saint Severan.

Close up, another of the most unusual Nativity Scenes (creches) in Paris: ecumenical, global, mixed (media and ethnicity), with black African and Jewish features.
One of the more unusual Nativity Scenes (creches) in Paris: ecumenical, global, mixed (media and ethnicity), this one featuring Noah's Arc.
Polynesian? In any case, one of the most unusual Nativity Scenes (creches) in Paris: ecumenical, global, mixed (media and ethnicity).

For those who think of epiphanies with a lower-case “e” (but upper-case significance), my favorite symbol of inspiration in Paris is the hard-to-see “Genie”—the Genius or Spirit—atop the Bastille Column at Place de la Bastille. The Spirit of the Bastille is all about Liberty, which also, at least to me, means freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of inspiration (and, perhaps, freedom from oppression in all its forms, secular and religious).

Epiphany as in inspiration, the genius of creativity and freedom of thought.

Yet others think of delicious desserts when Epiphany arrives in Paris: January 6 is the day the Galette des rois—the old-fashioned flaky cake often filled with marzipan—is baked by thousands of bakeries and pastry shops.

The traditional galette des rois (the Magi's cake) is still a favorite in Paris on and around Epiphany (Jan 6).

To each his own Epiphany (or epiphany)! Bonne inspiration…

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