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Friday, January 6, 2017

Twelfth Night Traditions

by Donna Hatch

Happy Twelfth Night!

According to Wickipedia: Twelfth Night is a festival in some branches of Christianity marking the coming of the Epiphany. Different traditions mark the date of Twelfth Night on either 5 January or 6 January; the Church of England, Mother Church of the Anglican Communion, celebrates Twelfth Night on the 5th and "refers to the night before Epiphany, the day when the nativity story tells us that the wise men visited the infant Jesus." In Western Church traditions, the Twelfth Night concludes the Twelve Days of Christmas; although, in others, the Twelfth Night can precede the Twelfth Day.

Either way, Twelfth Night is a day to feast and celebrate the coming of the Magi, or Three Kings, or Wise Man to the Christ Child. Though it is a common belief today that the Three Kings did not find Jesus until many months or even years after the new star signaled His birth, customary celebrations still occur on this date.

Many observe this as the end of the Christmas Season, and keep their Christmas lights and decorations up until this date. According to some superstitions, one must take down Christmas decorations on this date or risk inviting bad luck.

Traditionally, the Yule Log is lit on Christmas Day and kept alive Twelfth Night. Some superstations require the keeping of its charred remains throughout the year as a protection against fire and lightening. I find it amusing that other traditions require that all ashes, rags, and scraps be discarded on New Year’s Day as a way of discarding bad luck and making room for good luck.

In London, the Holly Man comes to kick off Twelfth Night Celebrations which include drinking wassail, singing, and generally have a great big party.

Samuel Pepys recorded in his diary in the 1600s that on this date, he filled his house with friends, "extraordinary Musick" and "good fires and candles" on the day.

What, if anything, do you do to celebrate Twelfth Night?


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