When is Twelfth Night?

Twelfth Night falls on January 5. It is so called because traditionally Christmas was a 12 day celebration, beginning on December 25.

Twelfth Night traditions

Twelfth Night is when we’re meant to put away our Christmas decorations or there’ll be bad luck in the year ahead.

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A day sooner or later is considered unlucky, and if decorations are not removed on Twelfth Night then according to tradition they should stay up until Candlemas on 2 February.

The Yule Log

The Yule Log, lit on Christmas day, remains burning until Twelfth Night in order to bring good fortune to the house for the coming year.  It’s charred remains are kept to kindle the next year’s Yule Log and to protect the house from fire and lightening.

Glowing embers of the Yule Log
Glowing embers of the Yule Log

Traditional Foods

Twelfth Night foods served in England include a King cake and a hot, spicy punch called Wassail.

King cake
King cake
Wassail punch
Wassail punch

Many people in the UK carry out the tradition of Wassailing

Wassailing is an old English tradition
Wassailing is an old English tradition

Celebrations in London

Each year Twelfth Night is celebrated at Bankside in London. To announce the celebration the Holly Man appears from the River Thames. Afterwards the traditional St. George play is performed, King Cakes are given out and those who find the concealed bean and pea in their cakes are crowned King and Queen for the day.

Twelfth Night Festivities - The Holly Man wassails the Thames
The Holly Man wassails the Thames

Click here for details of the 2017 celebrations in London.

 

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