Monday, 5 January 2015
Twelfth Night in the UK is traditionally the time to take down your Christmas decorations; if you leave them longer it is supposed to bring bad luck. The trouble is that no-one seems able to agree whether it is the 5th or 6th January (or even some other date altogether!) Personally I usually take mine down earlier, suddenly wanting a return to 'normal'.
In the Christian church the celebration of Twelfth Night is Epiphany, the time when the three wise men were supposed to have visited the infant Jesus.
It also relates to celebrations in medieval and Tudor times (which may in turn date back to Roman customs) to mark the end of the winter festival. A cake with a bean inside was eaten. Whoever got the bean became the Lord of Misrule for the night, presiding over the feast amid much merriment.