Bring Back the Celebration of Twelfth Night

Almost everyone knows the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” but a lot of people don’t know the real story behind the song. Tradition holds that 12 days after Christmas, the day Jesus was born, the Wisemen (or Magi) came from the East and visited the newborn baby and his parents, bringing gifts with them to honor the new King. Particularly during the Renaissance, Twelfth Night or the Feast of the Epiphany was celebrated 12 days after Christmas as a day of merriment and gift giving in honor of the Magi’s visit. (Hence the giving of gifts for 12 days in the song.) Our family has taken up the tradition and we have been coming up with all kinds of clever ways to make this a fun celebration. You can plan a party using any of the themes from this special day. You can center your holiday gift-giving on this day, and keep the spiritual day of Christmas gift-free. This year we are planning a party to include all of the merriment of a Renaissance Twelfth Night feast–plenty of fun food, games, and dancing! We may even throw in a small theatrical performance, giving all of our guests a part to play, along with a fun hat for them to wear throughout the evening. Charades is a great game that has been played as part of holiday parties for centuries. This is a great way to get everyone involved in a fun evening to “wrap up” the Christmas holiday season!

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