Once the festive season has passed, some people are keen to take down their Christmas decorations, while others like to hang onto them for as long as possible. So, when is the right time to pack them away?
The answer depends on precisely which of two Christmas calendars you believe in. While most people are familiar with the tradition of leaving the decorations in place until the Twelfth Night, one calendar makes that January 5, while the other dictates January 6.
According to Christian tradition, advent comprises the four weeks before Christmas Eve, but when to put away the Christmas tree and decorations depends on when your “12 Days of Christmas” begin.
The Church of England includes Christmas Day as the first, and thus Twelfth Night would be on January 5. Catholics, however – among other denominations – counting the 12 days from Boxing Day; therefore it would not be the Twelfth Night until the following day.
The 12 days of Christmas each have their own significance, and are meant for commemorating the lives and achievements of a series of saints. Boxing Day, for example, on 26th December, is also called St Stephen’s Day, as it celebrates St Stephen the Martyr.
Epiphany marks the very end of the Christmas season, and it falls on January 6 annually. In ancient times, this was a significant feast day. Services to mark Epiphany are still held all over the world, including in the Vatican City, where the Pope conducts a special Holy Mass annually.