Twelfth Night Essay

471 WordsOct 16, 20132 Pages
Twelve Days of Christmas The Twelve Days of Christmas is the twelve days beginning on night of Christmas (December 25) and ending on Epiphany (January 6). In the middle Ages this period was one of continuous feasting and merrymaking, which climaxed on Twelfth Night, the traditional end of the Christmas season. Contrary to popular belief, Christmas is not the "first day of the Christmas." Instead, we might better describe them as the twelve days after Christmas. By ancient reckoning, days and nights were counted separately, and the important night was often the night before, not the night of, the celebration (hence modern traditions of Christmas Eve and All Hollow’s Eve, or Halloween). The 12 day count actually begins with the eve of December 25, the "first night." The day of December 26 is the "first day," the eve of December 26 the "second night," and so on. The famous Twelfth Night is the eve of Epiphany, and the twelfth day is Epiphany itself. During the twelve days of Christmas, traditional roles were often relaxed, masters waited on their servants, men were allowed to dress as women, and women as men. Often a Lord of Misrule was chosen to lead the Christmas revels. Some of these traditions were adapted from older, pagan customs, including the Roman Saturnalia. Some also have an echo in modern day pantomime where traditionally authority is mocked and the principal male lead is played by a woman, while the leading older female character, or 'Dame' is played by a man. Twelfth Night Twelfth Night is a holiday on January 5 that marks the 12th and final night of the Christmas season. Twelfth Night is the eve before the twelfth day of Christmas or the Epiphany celebration, which commemorates the adoration of the Magi before the infant Jesus. In Tudor England, the Twelfth Night marked the end of a winter festival that started on All Hallows Eve--which we now

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