Twelfth Night Brings Christmas to a Close

By , January 6, 2010

Today is Epiphany, the Feast of the Three Kings, Twelfth Night. For us, it’s the end of our Christmas season. It’s time to be, as the old tune says, “breakin’ up Christmas.”

Last night, Aly put one of her shoes out in the Arctic Entryway. This is a Spanish custom she learned about several years ago, and readily adopted. The tradition is that the Three Kings or Wise Men travel through the land on the Eve of Epiphany, putting gifts in the shoes set out in the doorway. In Juneau, she would leave some food in the shoe for the Kings’ camels or horses—a handful of barley or a few carrots. Here on the homestead, the mice and voles would clean out the goodies before any camels had a chance. Ever practical, she put a can of tuna fish in her shoe instead. She said that even if the camels didn’t like it, the kings would.

Aly gets credit for figuring out how to eke out one more gift from the Christmas season, but two can play at that game! The Twelfth Night gift is almost always a DVD she’s been eagerly anticipating, one that she’d want to watch immediately if she received it on Christmas Day. By deferring it to the last day of Christmas, we keep to our “Christmas only” rule through the holiday, yet get to see the new movie the next night, if power levels allow. If you know Aly, you’ve probably guessed the title of this year’s gift: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. She also got a bottle of maple syrup, so we’re having sourdough pancakes this morning.

In Medieval times, at the end of the Christmas season, all the greenery would be burned. People thoroughly cleaned their houses, because tradition held that for every bit of evergreen in the house after Christmas, one goblin would appear that year. If that’s the case, we need to brace for a goblin invasion. Our Christmas branches will explode in a shower of hemlock needles as soon as we remove the first ornament. We have quite a clean up ahead of us. It makes me wish for a similar superstition for Christmas cookies. That’s a clean up detail I can get into!

So, goodbye, Christmas! Sorry to see you go, glad you’ll return again.

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