There has long been confusion over the date of Twelfth Night, a time when people across the UK take down their Christmas decorations. To help clear that up somewhat, Twelfth Night is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “the evening of the 5th of January…the eve of Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merrymaking.”
According to the Church of England, Twelfth Night is January 5th, and the day of Epiphany – when the three wise men visited the infant Jesus – is January 6th. Some people, however, count the 12 days of Christmas as starting after Christmas Day, making the evening of January 6th the Twelfth Night. At How to Christmas, we go firmly with January 5th as Twelfth Night as we believe it bonkers that Christmas Day itself should not count as the first day of Christmas!
However, we don’t believe in the superstition that to leave your decorations up beyond Twelfth Night is unlucky. Indeed, there was a time in Britain they were left up until Candlemas in early February. Put your decorations up when you want and take them down when you want. Whatever makes you happy.
Did you know…since 1795, London’s Drury Lane Theatre has observed the tradition of Twelfth Cake on Twelfth Night? English actor Robert Baddeley’s will made a bequest of £3-a-year to annually provide cake and wine for the company in residence on January 5th – and it remains a tradition to this day with “Baddeley Cake” now served.