Christmas present participle

The Church of England and English Heritage are both calling for people to leave their Christmas lights on, beyond the traditional “take ’em down” date of Twelfth Night in a bid to brighten the dark winter days during this lockdown. I, for one, agree with them. Bad luck or no, I’ve always thought it makes the place look sad when suddenly, a handful of days into the new year, all the decorations and lights get put away in the loft until December.

In medieval times, Christmas decorations were kept up until Candlemas, February 2nd and in many European countries this is still the custom. The days are short, the nights are long, the weather is mostly grey, and we’re all confined to quarters so why not do our best to brighten the place up a bit?

Why is it bad luck to leave your deccies up beyond Twelfth Night? When is Twelfth Night? The origins of the bad luck that will befall you are lost in the mystical and mythical but are probably to do with the forest and tree spirits, goblins and the like, which dwell in the fir trees, holly, mistletoe, and ivy that people used as decorations during the winter months in pre-Christian times.

Twelfth Night? This is also a little mired in mythology. Some branches of Christianity count the twelve days of Christmas from December 25th to January 5th, so the evening of January 5th is Twelfth Night. Other branches of Christianity count twelve days from sundown on December 25th to the morning of January 6th thus making Twelfth Night the evening of January 6th. This harks back to a tradition where days were reckoned from sundown to sundown and not midnight to midnight. You pays your money and takes your choice.

Me? I’m going to leave the lights on, in these dark times, we all need some light.

We all need some light

One thought on “Christmas present participle

  1. I’m so glad We usually leave our Christmas tree up until candlemas, sometimes beyond, if I can’t be no th eyed to take the baubles down. One year I stripped the tree of decorations but it was still there in the room on Valentine’s Day. So I decorated it again very soppily. But this year we have a growing tree so we need to put it back in the garden ASAP. Still it would be lovely if more lights generally were left up.

    Liked by 1 person

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