It does to me, sometimes. The Christmas music's gone from the radio, the decorations are coming down, and the only thing we really have to look forward to is Dick Clark.
Oops. He's dead.
Our Canadian and British friends have Boxing Day on the 26th - whatever that is.
But for the rest of us, there's nothing.
Or is there?
There can be, if we'll follow the old tradition of celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas, from the 25th to January 6 - the Feast of the Epiphany.
Here are the individual days -
December 26 - Stephen the Apostle
December 27 - John the Evangelist
December 28 - The Holy Innocents (the kids killed by King Herod)
December 29 - Thomas Becket
December 30 - the Holy Family
December 31 - St. Sylvester
January 1 - Solemnity of Mary (also the Holy Circumcision of Jesus...yes, really)
January 2 - Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen
January 3 - St. Genevieve and the Holy Name of Jesus
January 4 - Elizabeth Ann Seton and Simon Stylites
January 5 - Edward the Confessor (England), Julian the Hospitaler, and John Neumann. This is also the Twefth Night, as in the Shakespeare play.
The saints are those recognized by the Catholic church - the twelve days predated Martin Luther by quite a bit.
It may surprise one to learn that in some countries the tradition of the twelve days is still alive and well - in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth nations, many elements of the celebration survive. In England, it's generally practiced by the 'high' Anglican church, which has many Catholic trappings.
In the United States, it's not the case. Largely because of commercial interests ("After Christmas Sale! December 26!) we look at Christmas as a one-day event. Here on the 25th, and utterly gone the next day.
There has been some effort - largely commercial - to recast the twelve days to the period before Christmas Day, to put a different spin on shopping.
An extended celebration changes quite a bit. It almost has to focus on the real meaning of the holiday. Reliving Christmas Morning for twelve days running is way past tolerable, and twelve days of Christmas parties...ugh.
So, what to do?
One suggestion is to investigate the individual feast days between Christmas and Epiphany, and develop a themed evening that incorporates the traditional celebrations.
A less formal approach would be to exchange gifts on each of the twelve nights, with each gift symbolizing a wish of hope for the recipient in each month of the coming year.
However you may choose to do this - if you choose to follow this tradition - it'll make the season quite different for you and your family.
It'll make it richer.
I have never heard about the saints for the twelve days after Christmas? How does this relate with the song?ReplyDelete
We won't be able to really ponder the saints this year, but I'm keeping this post to use for next year. Thanks for sharing this, Andrew!
I'll have to look into it further - but I don't think there is a connection to the song. I mean - six geese a laying would be representing the Holy Family, which is rather hysterically disrespectful.Delete
I'd love to hear how you approach it next year, Jeanne. Thanks for stopping by!