Twelfth Night not the end of Christmas
Is tonight Twelfth Night or is it tomorrow Wednesday?
Tonight Tuesday used to be Twelfth Night for everybody but by the time of the Restoration in the mid-17th century it had become the custom to keep Twelfth Night on 6 January.
Samuel Pepys wrote on 6 January 1665: ‘At night home, being Twelfthnight, and there chose my piece of cake.’
But tonight is certainly Twelfth Night in Spain and France where the Twelfth Night cake will be cut for the first slice.
In Spain the Magi would normally be welcomed tonight in street processions.
Tomorrow Wednesday 6 January is The Epiphany when the Three Kings, representing non Jews and many nations, seek out Baby Jesus.
Do we take the decorations down now? It may be that the tree is undressed or even removed but many will, especially this year, keep the cards up until Tuesday 2 February, Candlemas.
Candlemas is when the Holy Family leaves Bethlehem.
We can stay with Christmas in real time and at Candlemas maybe reply to some of the card senders who are also experiencing this difficult time.