Sunday, January 08, 2006

Twelfth Night

I remember my mother telling me about her parents going to Twelfth Night parties. Twelfth Night, as in, the Twelfth Night of Christmas! You know, Shakespeare wrote a play about it?

Although retail stores and the mass media are quite insistent that Christmas ends on December 25th, it is most definitely not so! I am happy to say that my roommates and I kept our miniature Christmas tree up until this evening, although I have to admit that this is due mostly to laziness and less to a desire to observe the Twelve Days of Christmas ;)

The tradition of "the twelve days of Christmas" and the Twelfth Night celebrations are based on the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar, as twelve days pass between Christmas morning and the Feast of the Epiphany, when Catholics mark the visit of the Three Kings (aka the Three Wise Men) at the manger of Jesus.

Mardi Gras is also rooted in the Catholic calendar. In fact, the Feast of the Epiphany marks the start of the Mardi Gras season down in New Orleans. They start "preparing" for Lent... Ahem... Early... Down there. Who knows if their... "Preparations" will be as boisterous as in non-hurricane years past... Of course it would be wonderful to see the city on its feet again, although one hopes it can be accomplished in a dignified and non-exploitive way.

It was also my first Mass at St. Paul's since Christmas break. The Christmas decorations were all still up, of course! There was a great deal of incense used today, which I imagine is because it was a major feast day. Sigh, I would like every Sunday to be an incense day. Also Eucharistic Prayer I. Also a very instructive homily on how we are all meant to bring our gifts to the service of Christ, in the same way that the Kings brought Him gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

The lady who always accompanies her middle-aged son to Mass offered to give me a ride again, and made sure I knew that on "bad days" I had to say yes! Father said "Welcome back, Maggie" when we shook hands at the vestibule. And the music was 100 percent traditional Epiphany music - We Three Kings, What Child Is This etc. All in all, I feel back into the swing of things already. Hurray!

1 comment:

  1. An interesting Irish tradition is the designation of Epiphany as Little Christmas or Women's Christmas. It's seen as an opportunity for women to have a celebration to themselves having worked so hard to make Christmas memorable for their families.