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The end of Christmas?

posted 7 Jan 2015, 09:03 by Dean Fostekew
This past Sunday at the Church of the Good Shepherd we preempted the Feast of the Epiphany, celebrating the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus and yesterday the actual day of the festival we took the decorations down. The 6th January has many names not just 'Epiphany' but also 'Old Christmas Day' and 'Twelfth Night'. Old Christmas day as it was for centuries the day that presents were given and Christmas celebrated. It remains 'Christmas Day' in many Orthodox countries such as Greece and Russia. Twelfth Night because it was 12 days after the 25th December and the official end to the Christmas festivities and times of misrule. Try 'googling' past customs of Christmas and you'll discover more.

The decorations may be down and the Crib figures packed away but Christmas is far from over. In fact the celebration of Christmas of a full 40 days does not end until the 2nd February with the celebration of Candlemas (or the Purification of Mary in the Temple). The church I attended as a youth kept the crib and tree out until 2nd February to mark the full Christmastide period and to make it distinctive from the secular celebrations of Christmas. So despite the fact that the creme eggs are already in the shops we are still celebrating Christmas in Murrayfield.