The West has historically observed a twelve-day festival, starting on 25 December, and ending on 05 January, a period known as 'Christmastide' or 'the Twelve Days of Christmas' (My true love gave to me. . . A partridge in a pear tree, Two turtle doves, Three French hens, Four calling birds, Five gold rings, Six geese-a-laying, Seven swans-a-swimming, Eight maids-a-milking, Nine ladies dancing, Ten lords a leaping, Eleven pipers piping, Twelve drummers drumming. . .). Interesting choice of gifts. I hope he kept the receipt!
Epiphany is celebrated with a wide array of customs around the world. Including Eating and Drinking. In some cultures, the greenery and nativity scenes put up at Christmas are taken down. Some countries hold that it is unlucky to leave the Christmas Decorations up after Epiphany.
In England, the celebration is also known as Twelfth Night.
'Twelfth Night'; or, 'What You Will' is a comedy by William SHAKESPEARE with romantic overtones, mistaken identity, sub plots, cross dressing and the like. It is believed to have been written around 1601–02, the first recorded performance was on 2 February 1602 (but the play was not published until around 1623). The play was meant as a Twelfth Night's entertainment for the close of the Christmas season.
So, today is 'Epiphany' and marks the end of the Christmas celebrations. I didn't really celebrate Christmas this year as I have been poorly, and I feel that I have missed out. The decorations are cleared and packed away for another year; it seems quite sad as all of the twinkling lights are gone and it all seems a bit bare. This is perhaps a time for reflection, to think about what has happened, what we hoped would have happened, what didn't happen. But, the New Year has begun, and we begin to start to look forward to the Spring. Indeed, a time of new beginnings.