Sunday, 6 January 2008

Twelfth Night


Twelfth night marks the end of the season of Advent and Christmas and a time of celebration at the end of the festivities. In the Christian church, it is marked by the feast of Epiphany ~ the coming of the Magi.

Traditionally, it it time to take down the Christmas decorations, although reading many blogs, it would appear that some Christmas trees are lucky to survive the New Year before being unceramoniously dumped outside the home. Even before New Year, I saw beautiful trees lying forlornly outside neighbourhood homes awaiting collection for recycling.

I think that one of the reasons why so many people can't wait to take down their decorations is because they decorate their homes so early. In the UK, I never saw decorations in homes before December at the earliest and often it was only the week before Christmas that my mother would let us put up the tree. Here in Canada, homes are decorated by mid-November, so it seems hardly surprising that people are tired of their trees before New Year.

Traditions associated with Twelfth Night include the drinking of wassail (punch) and the baking of a Twelfth-Cake, which contained a bean and a pea. Those who received the slices containing them were King and Queen for the Twelfth Night celebrations.

Shakespeare wrote his famous play Twelfth Night or What You Will, which was performed as entertainment for the twelfth night in 1602.

Epiphany is an illuminating discovery or revelation. The Magi or wise men brought gifts to the infant Jesus which revealed his existence to the wider world.

However you decide to mark the end of the Christmas season, I wish you a year full of illuminating discoveries and precious gifts.

8 comments:

Heidi said...

We have Twelfth Night here in Holland known as 3 Kings Day. It is on this day that you take down your tree. This year I had a treat as Jos helped me take it down and it was wonderful. I normally do it on my own and it takes much longer. I think you are right about everyone taking their trees down right after Christmas as they decorate too early. It is a shame. The house is so empty when the tree is gone. I know when I lived in Ohio, there were many in our church that were moving the idea of gift giving to January 6th to get away for the commercial idea connected to Christmas and found the idea behind waiting just a bit longer really fulfilling. Did you take your tree down today?

Hugs ~
Heidi

Lynda said...

Our real Christmas tree is still up and the outdoor lights still on. Tomorrow we'll put Christmas away until next year. You're right about us having them up much longer ... I started decorating right after Thanksgiving when I lived in the US and have just kept it up. I try to leave some decorations up until after the Ephiphany. ~ ♥ Lynda xo

Reflection Through The Seasons said...

An interesting post Marie....

We put out decorations up mid-December and that is early enough I think and I like to take them down on 31 December or even New year’s day..... making a clean start into the New Year. I certainly couldn’t cope with them around from mid November, how dusty everything must get by then and they are not the easiest things to clean.

May your new year be enriched with precious gifts and exciting discoveries too Marie. Hugs - Marion

Wild Rose said...

Heidi ~ yes, I took the tree down on Sunday afternoon. The house does look bare without it and I was sad to see it go. Still, there is always next Christmas to look forward to...

Lynda ~ I read on your blog that you always start decorating right after Thanksgiving, but I prefer to wait a little longer. Then I get to enjoy my tree into the early part of January.

Marion ~ I used to wait until mid-December, but it is now such a busy time that I have moved it to around the end of the first full week. This gives me a month to enjoy our decorations, which is quite long enough. You are right about the dust if they hang around for too long.

Marie x

Tracy said...

Lovely post, Marie! Decorating for the Christmas holidays does seem to begin earlier and earlier as the trend happens. In recent years we've been putting up a artifical, everlasting tree for conveience. The nice thing with such as we can leave it up as long as we like. We often decorate the fist weekend of advent and take down round about Twelfth Night. We de-decorated over the weekend. I miss the glow of the tree aleady. But it was good to do a proper clean--LOL! Happy week, my friend ((HUGS))

Naturegirl said...

Marie I take my Christmas tree down and recyle by placing in my back garden for the birds to enjoy finding shelter against the elements.We have done this for years and when Spring arrives and the needles have dropped
we toss it into city compost bags.
I have posted about this.
The house does look bare without the excitement of Christmas glitter! hugs NG

Tea Time and Roses said...

Beautiful post Marie! I try to enjoy my decorations as long as possible. We try to get them up early December and usually take them down after the new year, but driving through my neighborhood I do still see beautiful lights and trees...I like that, and think I will keep my decorations up even longer next Christmas! :o)

Smiles...

Beverly

NAME: CIELO said...

In my country we celebrate "Kings Day" on the 6th of Jan. and then all celebrations end.

Blessings during 2008.

Cielo