Christmas Day is officially over for another year, although the festive cheer hasn’t quite come to an end as people continue to enjoy the break leading up to New Year.
But with the centrepiece of the festivities having come and gone, folks may be starting to give thought to when the Christmas tree – and the decorations – might have to be taken down and packed away for another 12 months.
It’s a long-held tradition that it is bad luck to keep decorations up too long – but how long is too long?
Let’s take a look.
When should you take your Christmas tree and decorations down?
Some people take down their tree and decorations on Boxing Day, while others remove theirs on January 1.
Officially, it is any time after the Twelfth Night, which is the 12th night after Christmas Day (January 5).
However, many people take down their decorations on the day of the Epiphany (January 6) as they consider that to be the 12th night after Christmas.
Clearly, it depends on your definitions – but either way, they should be removed on either of those dates to avoid 2022 being unlucky for you.
If you miss that crucial January 6 date, there is still a way to avoid misfortune.
There is an old tradition that was marked by Christians in the 1500s that had people keeping their decorations up until Candlemas on February 2. So if you forget to take down your decorations, you can always wait until then too.
When is the Epiphany and Twelfth Night?
The Epiphany is on January 6, 2022, meaning that the Twelfth Night is on January 5, 2022.
What is the Epiphany?
The Epiphany signals the official end of Christmas and marks the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. The name ‘epiphany’ is actually Greek and means ‘manifestation’ with the date itself being a celebration of God coming to Earth as a human in the form of his son.
The date is also when the Three Kings (aka the Three Wise Men) arrived to meet the baby Jesus after following a bright star to Bethlehem and handed over their gifts of gold (to symbolise his royal standing), frankincense (to symbolise his divine birth) and myrrh (to symbolise his mortality).
And in case you didn’t know – frankincense and myrrh are both fragrances. Frankincense is a milk-white resin extracted from Boswellia trees and myrrh is a reddish resin from the Commiphora myrrh tree.
The Three Kings, known as the ‘Magi’, were called Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar. Some suggest they are meant to represent Europe, Arabia and Africa.
Why is it called the Twelfth Night?
In the olden days, Christmas wasn’t just a one-day event – it was actually celebrated for 12 days.
This began on Christmas Eve, December 24, and was celebrated every day up until the Epiphany. The 12 days begins on Christmas Day itself.
That means that January 5 was celebrated just as much as Christmas Day itself.
This was the tradition from the medieval period up until the 19th century.
The Epiphany is more than one day for some
While the Catholic Church marks the Epiphany for one day, many protestants mark ‘the season of the Epiphany’ from January 6 up until Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.
When marking the Epiphany season, the last day of the Epiphany is called ‘Transfiguration Sunday’.
Some celebrate the Epiphany on different dates
Orthadox Christians celebrate the Epiphany on January 19 rather than January 6.
The name of the celebration also depends on where you are. If you live in the Spanish speaking world, the Epiphany is known as Three Kings’ Day – or – ‘Dia de los Reyes’
Credit: Original article published here.