So the decorations are down and the cards are ready to be recycled. It’s a flat sort of day. Especially since the next day is a Monday this year, and Real Life starts up in earnest for everyone.
Until the mid-nineteenth century, though, Twelfth Day in Britain was a celebration (and also the Feast of the Epiphany). In those days, the ones I mostly write about, Christmas went on after December 25th, instead of peaking on the day. And our Christmas cake developed out of the old Twelfth Cake, with its bean and other tokens and its turning upside down of the usual rules.
In Ireland, the rules were kicked over too. January 6th was known as Little Christmas (Nollaig Bheag), or Women’s Christmas (Nollaig na mBan). On this day, the men took over all the housework and the women got a well-earned rest, or the chance to enjoy themselves with sisters, daughters or friends.
I’m not planning any misrule today, but I’m going to celebrate Twelfth Day with a few photos of my first Christmas. So here we are, me and my parents…
My mother used to have a party on January 6th, so today’s poignant for me, but with happy memories.
Here’s a very rich recipe for Twelfth Cake, if you’re into baking. Have you got any Twelfth Day/Night traditions?