|Twelfth Night (Not The Play)
||[Jan. 8th, 2018|10:52 am]
My eldest son just got back from Tenerife. Lovely weather and a carnivalesque celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany with floats and Disney characters and the three kings driving into town in limousines full of presents.|
We Brits have all but forgotten about Twelfth Night- which is a pity. The more festivals one has at this time of year the better. I don't do well in the cold. This house is well heated but the icicles still get through. I've been wearing a scarf indoors. A lovely long, fluffy woollen scarf.
But about Twelfth Night. It was still a bit of a thing when I was a kid. I remember we had a Christmas crib and the three kings were set at a distance and we moved them closer every day until on Twelfth Night they finally arrived at the manger. Perhaps some people still do that. My mother used to insist that the Christmas decorations came down on January 5 because to leave them up any longer was unlucky.
All of Spain from the tiniest villages to the biggest cities celebrate Three Kings that way, usually on the Eve of the Epiphany. We have parades in the evening that are all light, colour and joy...and there are many floats with children's storybook characters and/or popular characters from movies or television shows. It's mostly considered a children's celebration although we adults love it as well.The Three Kings are the traditional bearers of gifts to the homes here.
Tenerife has a huge Carnival/Mardi Gras tradition so their parades may reflect that also somewhat.
I like the idea of the Kings being the present bearers.
I always take the Christmas decorations down on the 5th, but from what I've been hearing online, a lot of people are taking them down much earlier, immediately after Christmas. This seems a shame as the whole idea of the 12 days of Christmas is being lost. The festivities seem to be shifting earlier with decorations going up well before Christmas and coming down soon after Boxing Day.
We put our decorations up at the beginning of December and don't really have a rule about taking them down again. This year they lasted until 12th Night but I've removed them earlier. There comes a time, I find, when I've had enough of Christmas and don't want to be looking a baubles any more.
I can see that you'd be fed up with them if they've been up throughout December. Our decorations don't go up until Christmas eve or at most a day or so before, so we haven't got bored with them and I like leaving them until 12th night. Their presence marks the nearly two weeks when everything seems to stands still over Christmas, and then taking them down signifies getting back into a normal routine again.
I find it hard to sustain any enthusiasm for Christmas once the big family reunions have been and gone.
We took our decorations down on the 6th. I like that idea of moving the wise men closer and closer to the creche.
Our local Roman Catholic church has a Chilean priest who delights in bringing live
camels to the neighborhood for Epiphany.
On Satuday afternon I've been asked over to a French couple who lives in my building in town for 'la galette des rois', the traditional French celebration of the Twelfth Night.
Their little daughter is a great fan of my cat who likes to perch in the window of my ground-floor flat just next to the bicycle parking, so we've been chatting on and off.
And they say people in cities don't speak to their neighours? Well, POPPYCOCK! Even if this does classify me as the weird cat-guy who opens his window to speak French to little kids outside...
Every child should have a weird cat guy to talk to.
Fortunately I've only spoken to her when her parents were around, so at least I'm not "creepy cat guy"...
But I like being cat guy. (And getting to speak French is an added bonus; I do that too rarely.)