Today is what I would call Twelfth Night, but the Book of Days has as Twelfth Day (which makes more sense I suppose).
To me it’s nothing more than the last day you’re supposed to have Christmas decorations up (and I duly spent all of three minutes whipping the half-dozen pieces of tinsel off the top of paintings and mirrors, and taking Christmas cards off the shelf) but it seems a whole host of traditions have been lost, and in the 1860s it was said to be second only to Christmas as a popular festival. There was (at least for the rich) the ‘costly and elegant’ Twelfth-cake, and parties with food, drink (claret blood flowing from a pasteboard stag, anyone?) and games (including serious gambling). In a way it seems a shame to have lost all these old feasts, but for the sake of all those on their annual January diet and counting the cost of Christmas it’s probably for the best in this case.
Since this is the last day of my long festive break I guess I should have a feast of my own, a final celebration before my return to work. Tea and stollen it is then.