Today is Epiphany, the celebration of the day the magi or wise men brought gifts to the infant Jesus. It is also Twelfth Night, or the 12th day after Christmas. Our priest told us during today’s homily that during medieval times, Twelfth Night was the biggest celebration of the year. It was a night for merrymaking and revelry. Those of you who live in Europe or in the southern United States or other places who celebrate this day will no doubt be familiar with this celebration. We don’t observe it in my part of the world, though, so it’s been interesting to learn about it.
Sometimes Twelfth Night is celebrated on the eve of Epiphany, rather like Christmas Eve, and other times it is celebrated after sundown on Epiphany. Either way, our ancestors imbibed traditional drinks and prepared traditional foods for a grand celebration marking the near end of the Christmas holidays and heralding the upcoming Easter holy days, which will begin with Lent in February (if I recall correctly).
Next year, I may well do a Twelfth Night celebration. The wassail sounds wonderful; I plan to make some this week. Ale, apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, port? Interesting, to say the least. Then there’s the King Cake, so named because of the three kings (or wise men) who visited Christ.
If any of you observe this old tradition, I’d like to hear about it.