Dec 152014

Twelve days after Christmas is known at Twelfth Night or Epiphany and in Latin counties it is Dia de los Reyes Magos. It was on this night that the three kings made it to Bethlehem to present their gifts to the newborn Jesus–gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

In Latin countries, on January 5th, the three wise men are added to the nativity scene and children leave their shoes by the door and hope for fruits, candy, and trinkets to be left inside them by the Wise Men. Some countries give presents on this day rather than on Christmas Day. In Mexico, la Rosca de Reyes, a sweet circular cake is served with a doll baked inside representing the baby Jesus (similar to the Mardi Gras King Cake) and is served with hot chocolate. The person who finds the baby in their slice is to host the forthcoming celebration Candelaria or Candlemas on February 2nd. It is on Candlemas that the nativity scene and all the Christmas decorations are put away.

Wassail is consumed especially on Twelfth Night in the UK. In English and French custom, the Twelfth-cake was baked to contain a bean and a pea, so that those who received the slices containing them should be designated king and queen of the night’s festivities. Drury Lane Theatre in London has had a tradition since 1795 of providing a Twelfth Night cake. The will of Robert Baddeley made a bequest of £100 to provide cake and punch every year for the company in residence at the theatre on 6 January. The tradition still continues.

In Ireland it is still the tradition to place the statues of the Three Kings in the crib on Twelfth Night or, at the latest, the following Day Little Christmas.

In colonial America, a Christmas wreath was always left up on the front door of each home, and when taken down at the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

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 December 15, 2014  Posted by at 2:13 pm The Many Days of Christmas