January 5th in Twelfth Night.

During the Middle Ages, Christmas was a time of continuous feasting and merriment, which climaxed on Twelfth Night. The days and nights are counted separately. Therefore, the height of celebration became the night before, or eve, of Epiphany. The twelve day count actually begins with the night of December 25, the “first night.” The day of December 26 is the “first day,” the night of December 26 is the “second night,” and so on. The Twelfth Night is the night before Epiphany, and the twelfth day is Epiphany itself.

In some countries, Twelfth Night and Epiphany mark the start of the Carnival season. For Carnival in the United States, think about New Orleans, where it lasts through Mardi Gras Day.

  • The punch, called wassail, is consumed during Christmastime, but especially on Twelfth Night.
  • Special pastries, such as the tortell and king cake, are baked on Twelfth Night. They are eaten the following day for the Feast of the Epiphany celebrations.
  • Some people chalk their doors as a way of blessing their home. This year, they would write “20 + C =M +B + 2” in chalk. The letters have two meanings. They represent the initial of the Wise Men (Caspar, Malchior, and Balthazar). They also abbreviate the Latin phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat “May Christ bless the house.” The “+” signs represent the cross, and the “20” at the beginning and the “22” at the end mark the year.
  • It also a popular belief that it is unlucky to leave Christmas decorations hanging after Twelfth Night, though some may leave them up until Candlemas.

Twelfth Night or What You Will is a romantic comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written around 1601–1602 as a Twelfth Night’s entertainment for the close of the Christmas season. The play center s on the twins Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. To read the entire play click here

17 thoughts on “January 5th in Twelfth Night.”

  1. I grew up Catholic and knowing what the 12 days of Christmas were. As a kid we were off school so that made it special too.

    A pox on capitalist dogs of war that created a Christmas season that goes from the black Friday to clearance day on Dec 16.

    Liked by 1 person

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