Friday, January 6, 2017

END OF THE FESTIVE SEASON When is Twelfth Night 2017, what is it and why is it traditional to take down your Christmas tree then?

 It has become the traditional date to say goodbye to your festive decorations - but when is Twelfth Night?

NOW that the festive season is drawing to a close, the time is approaching to finally take down your Christmas tree.
For centuries, households have been decorated with fir trees to mark the wintertime event – but when did the tradition begin and why do we do it? And when is Twelfth Night,

Getty Images  Even the festive light tradition has been prevalent for hundreds of years

When is Twelfth Night?

Twelfth Night is a festival which marks the end of Christmas and the  coming of The Epiphany,
another Christian feast day, on January 6. For the Church of England, the date falls on January 5, although other Christian groups believe January 6 is correct – because it is the 12th day after Christmas.
Its name comes from it bringing to an end the 12 Days of Christmas – the length of time Christians traditionally celebrated the birth of Jesus.
Twelfth Night became the traditional date to take down festive decorations because people believed tree spirits sheltered in the greenery – such as holly and ivy – that adorned houses during the period.
Taking them down a day earlier or later was considered unlucky, and it was thought that if they were left up after Twelfth Night they should remain in place for the whole year.
It was believed that if this system wasn’t adhered to, vegetation wouldn’t grow and there would be agricultural problems and food shortages in the year that followed.

Why do we have Christmas trees?

They have been a wintertime staple for hundreds of years, with many different religions and cultures using the trees as a festive symbol.
While there is no concrete answer as to where the first Christmas tree tradition was started, but historians trace it back to the 15th century.
Through the years, a similar Pagan ritual uses the evergreen to represent life at a time when the nights are dark and cold.

  Many believe that Germany were the first nation to champion the festive fir

But the first record of a modern day Xmas fir was noted in Germany, where devout Christians brought the greenery into their homes.
It didn’t take long for the trend to sweep across Europe, as members of the nobility decided to adopt the practice.
In the UK, the tradition really took off when Prince Albert had a Christmas tree put up at Windsor Castle.

Why do we decorate our Christmas trees?

In the early modern period, the first trees were decorated with apples, candy canes and pastries that were shaped into different wintry designs.
As households competed to make their festive firs look as eye-catching as possible, specialist decorations and baubles were in high demand.
When the trees were first illuminated in the 16th century, they were lit-up with real candles.
Tinsel also became a popular choice for families, as it gave the branches some sparkle without creating a fire hazard.
By the 20th century, the much safer method of using fairy lights was adopted to give a glow to the evergreens.

Why are Christmas trees topped with an ornament

 Stars and angels tend to be the most popular choices for the top of the tree
A number of different symbolic trinkets are placed right at the top of the Christmas tree – and each represents something different.
In early Christmas rituals, a figure of baby Jesus was used at the highest point of the firs.
Now, some households select angel ornaments to symbolise the ones mentioned in the accounts of the Nativity of Jesus.
The most popular tree topper is the star, which was also a key component in the Biblical Nativity.
According to the scriptures, the Star of Bethlehem guided the Wise Men to the manger where Jesus lay.

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