Electric Prayer

The Liturgy of the Hours, the Mass, and other things.

The Epiphany (especially England, Wales, Scotland)

Posted by universalis on 30 December 2020

At about this time of year we tend to get a few emails from people who say that we have got the calendar wrong. This is because the solemnity of the Epiphany is celebrated on different dates in different parts of the world. There are two choices:

  • It can be celebrated on January the 6th, the thirteenth day of Christmas. That is why the eve of the Epiphany is called Twelfth Night.
  • It can be celebrated on the Sunday between the 2nd and 8th of January.

Universalis does both. If you set Universalis to use your local calendar, you will see the Epiphany on the right day for you.

  • In England and Wales, 2021 is the first year for a while in which the Epiphany does not fall on the Sunday. Don’t worry: this is correct!
  • In Scotland, you need to get the latest update to Universalis to make sure that you get the Epiphany on the Sunday.
  • If you are confused about the readings, this page lists them all for both “Epiphany on the 6th” and “Epiphany on the Sunday”.

How to select your local calendar

  • If you are using the Universalis web site, look at the “Calendar used” entry at the bottom of the list of dates. If it doesn’t look right, tap on it and you will be given a list of available calendars.
  • If you are using a Universalis app, display the calendar and at the top of the list of dates you will see the name of the currently chosen local calendar. If you want to change the local calendar, tap on that name.
  • If you are using a Universalis program, it is much the same, except that “Change local calendar” is a separate button.

The English and Welsh transition

Starting in 2018, the bishops of England and Wales switched from the commercial to the religious calendar for the feasts of the Epiphany and the Ascension. For the Epiphany, this has the following effect:

2018: moved from 7 January (the first Sunday after 1 January) to 7 January (Saturday the 6th, transferred to the Sunday) – in other words, NO CHANGE.

2019: moved from 6 January (the first Sunday after 1 January) to 6 January – in other words, NO CHANGE.

2020: moved from 5 January (the first Sunday after 1 January) to 5 January (Monday the 6th, transferred to the Sunday) – in other words, NO CHANGE.

2021: not 3 January (the first Sunday after 1 January), but Wednesday 6 January.

To summarize: the change was made in 2018 but the first time you see any difference is in 2021.


We apologize! Having no information about Scotland, we presumed that the Scots had moved along with the English and Welsh. Several emails in late December 2020 (including one from a Monsignor) told us we were wrong. So we have sent out updates, and by the time the 3rd of January arrives, many of you will have been updated automatically. If you haven’t received an automatic update then you can do it by hand: the instructions are here.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.