Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Twelfth Night - Jan. 5 or 6

The Epiphany, formally the last day of Christmastime festivities, is today, January 6. Yesterday, January 5, is often referred to in Christian practices as Twelfth Night because for many Christians, it marks the coming of the Epiphany and concludes the Twelve Days of Christmas. Twelfth Night occurs as a last time for Christmas revelers to gather around a tree, often an old and very large apple tree outside (not the evergreen tree that has been dutifully standing in your living room for the past few weeks looking gorgeous and festive) and wish the tree and its spirit good health in hopes for a good harvest in the coming summer and fall. These merrymakers would also drink a whole lot of cider, too--probably in an effort to keep warm on a cold January night.

In garden lore, Twelfth Night is also traditionally a time to take down the Christmas decorations as legends suggest that leaving them up after Twelfth Night can be unlucky. Gardeners of old would often advise people to use care in taking down evergreen boughs and not discard them but ceremoniously burn or bury them with respect and reverence in their gardens, thus bringing good fortune to future crops and plants on a homeowner's property.

My trees, however, are artificial and already lovingly tucked away in the attic for a well deserved rest until next year and, hopefully, guaranteeing another year of happiness and good fortune. Whether your Christmas decorations are already packed away or not, I wish for you the same throughout this entire year.

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