Twelfth Night

Have you taken down your decorations yet?

In England we always try to remove them by Twelfth Night… one of those superstitions that gets passed down from generation to generation without really thinking about it.

Here in predominantly Catholic Bavaria the Christmas tree and some decorations are often left up until Candlemas, on 2nd February.

Both superstitions/traditions seem to be rooted in pagan rituals, where the spirits of the greenery brought in for Christmas are then released again so that spring can come.

Twelfth Night is however remembered here in a different way: the three “kings” Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar (usually three youngsters from the village church dressed up in elaborate robes!) travel from door to door collecting donations for charity, singing, and saying a prayer for each household. They then use chalk to write over the door “C+M+B” and the year. This is a short form of “God bless this house” in Latin.

***

Another German weather proverb for you:

(Ist bis Dreikönig kein Winter, kommt keiner mehr dahinter.)

If winter hasn’t come by Epiphany, there will be no winter.


5 thoughts on “Twelfth Night

  1. We cleaned up Christmas on New Years Eve, but I miss the lights on the tree in early morning….what can I use for a substitute? Maybe I should get a collection of candles….

  2. We have spent several Christmases in Germany but didn’t know of the traditions of leaving decorations up for so long. I always hate putting them away…the house looks so plain afterwards.

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