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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Ending of Yuletide

Tomorrow marks the end of the Yuletide tradition, twelve days of Christmas.

In England, the Christmas decorations are left in place until the 6th day of January, and since old habits are hard to break, the decorations around our house, are still in place.



The tradition is that all Christmas decorations should be removed on 6th January so as not to bring bad luck into the home. According to UK tradition, tree-spirits lived in the holly and ivy and this was brought into the house to keep them safe during the harsh winter days. Once the harsh weather of Christmas was over, the greenery had to be brought back outside to release the tree-spirits from their temporary imprisonment. Failure to do this would block growth and prevent the Spring from coming.

Today people in the UK still feel uneasy about leaving the Christmas Decorations up after Twelfth Night. Even though decorations are now made disposable materials, and the tree-spirits elevated position in the scheme of things has been long demoted, the tradition and superstition still survives.

At least according to Christian traditions, tonight is Twelfth Night and tomorrow, January 6th, is Twelfth Day, also known as Epiphany or Three Kings Day.
Many churches leave their decor up an extra day so that Epiphany can be celebrated on January 6th with the Three Wise Men being added to the manger scene on display.


Regardless, it seems as good a reason as any to pack up the tinsel and stockings and vacuum up the last of the pine needles, for yet another year.

19 comments:

richies said...

My parents spent a year living in Puerto Rico in the 1970's. We spent that Christmas with them. There, January 6 was called 3 Kings Day and was the day that people exchanged gifts.

An Arkies Musings

Deb said...

That's a nice tradition. If you are anything like me you will be vacuuming up needles for a month. Lovely photos. Hugs, Deb=^..^=x5

Sharon said...

Years ago, we had a real tree and I was still finding needles a year later, we had thick shag carpeting, so we went to an artificial tree. Those needles do get sharp when they have been drying for a year in hiding in the thick carpet! :-)

Deanna said...

Hi!
Enjoyed your post.
My Christmas decorations are still out. Planning on putting them away a little at a time.

I enjoy the decorations and when they finally are put away, it seems dull around my home. Then I get use to them being gone. Spring comes and brightens up life.

May you have a super new year,
d

floweringmama said...

You have a beautiful home! Thanks for the history lesson. I learned something new tonight! Fortunately, all my holiday decorations are boxed away until next year. I'm already ready for spring!

Shine said...

It is a lovely tradition indeed. I wish we could leave them up all year....just makes everything seem so warm and cozy. Oh well....told my daughter we just have to look for other ways to make it more cozy around the house and then look forward to next Christmas. Have a nice evening! Shine

Mary Lou said...

Lovely tree and home.

Denise said...

Your decorations are lovely Jo and interesting to read our traditions, some I had forgotten. I do leave things out until twelfth night but will be packing mine away tomorrow as I have friends coming over for lunch and they haven't seen my decorations yet. Hopefully the powers-that-be won't mind just this once.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Once again lovely pictures! I love the tradition and the history connected to it--THANKS for sharing it with us today!

George said...

We've had to start taking down our Christmas decorations a little early since we will be going to my parents' house on January 6. We do usually take down our decorations on Epiphany.

Meredith said...

We do the same. Your decorations are very pretty.

黄清华 Wong Ching Wah said...

Hello,Brit..
Good angles especially like the 3rd image.

Regards,
Wong

Clint said...

O' course, what I like the best is folks leavin' up the decorations for several weeks beyond Christmas. Usually happens because they're jus' too damn lazy t' take 'em down. It's kind of a tradition with most folks hereabout.
'course, long about June these things start t' become a local subject of contention, and eventually---'long about August, the offending decorations finally come down. Ain't Christmas special!!!/

Star said...

I like to leave the decorations up for as long as possible. Epiphany seems a great time to take them down. This year I took mine down early to save time. Larry is leaving them up in Tennessee so we can have a late Christmas together. I am 'Star' and I am travelling from the east to the west on Epiphany. Isn't that nice?
Blessings, Star

Barbara Anne said...

I so enjoyed your lovely pictures and the lesson on the history of the traditions we follow. I was thinking of keeping some holly, ivy, and evergreen branches in the house, but suppose those spirits need to be outside because I surely don't want to delay spring!

Tomorrow as Christmas boxes go out, my winter bits of decor come in - snowflakes, plaids, and deep blue and white candles. These touches keep my home cozy until warm weather arrives.

Hugs!

L. D. Burgus said...

Your decorations are wonderful. I never get tired of seeing red and green together. Have a great New Year.

Patsy said...

Looks like I was doing all that singing to early.LOL

Betsy said...

I leave mine up until the 6th. Mom always did. I love the beauty of the greens at my windows and with the cold weather they look as fresh as ever.
Happy New Year
Betsy

Mmm said...

Beautiful pictures. Yes, that is how I still celebrate it--through Jan 6th. hope your christmastide was full and merry.