12 Fun Facts About Twelfth Night
The Huffington Post UK
It’s Twelfth Night! The day after Eleventh Night! But how well do you really know the marking of the end of Christmastide and the coming of the Epiphany? Here are 12 amazing and possibly untrue facts about it (with apologies to Wikipedia)…
1. Twelfth Night is traditionally the evening before Epiphany, which is also the name of Katie Price’s youngest child.
2. Twelfth Night marks the end of the winter festival that begins with All Hallow’s Eve and ends with the last Quality Street being eaten.
3. Some say that if you leave Christmas decorations up after Twelfth Night, bad luck will befall your house. These people are idiots.
4. Whether Twelfth Night is celebrated on the 5th or 6th of January is the subject of heated debate amongst scholars, historians and pub quiz contestants.
5. In some places, particularly South West England, Old Twelfth Night is celebrated on 17 January. Some say this is due to it being the date determined by the Julian calendar; others say it is due to it being South West England.
6. The drink traditionally consumed on Twelfth Night in Britain is ‘wassail’ – a concoction made by mixing any drinks you have leftover from Christmas and/or the contents of a selection of mini liqueurs.
7. Since 1795, the Drury Lane Theatre in London has always provided a cake for the company in residence on Twelfth Night. There was controversy during the run of ‘My Fair Lady’, however, when Julie Andrews was rumoured to receive a slightly larger slice than her co-stars.
8. During medieval times, a cake that contained a bean was traditionally eaten at the beginning of Twelfth Night festival. The person who found the bean would then ‘rule the feast’ – a medieval term meaning ‘be the first to fart’.
9. In colonial America, Christmas wreaths were traditionally taken down from the fronts of houses on Twelfth Night, and any edible portions would be eaten. Some modern-day Americans still try this, despite their wreaths being made entirely of plastic.
10. In parts of Kent, an edible decoration would be the last part of Christmas to be removed on Twelfth Night, and would be shared amongst the family. This tradition continues to this day, with the decoration usually being a melted chocolate Santa found down the back of the sofa.
11. In the eastern Alps, a tradition called ‘Perchtenlaufen’ exists. Two to three hundred masked young men rush about the streets with whips and bells driving out evil spirits. Or as it’s known in most parts of England: ‘a Friday night’.
12. Shakespeare’s play ‘Twelfth Night’ is a comedy about people failing to take down their Christmas cards.