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.