Hi all! I wanted to tell you about something super cool we did this year. When we were growing up my father and step mother had this night that we had on December 12th when we all had to get together sing carols and read the Christmas story. In our family we called it 12th night and it was a required family attendance night. This year as we prepared for Christmas I was reflecting on that tradition. I was wondering if it had any roots in Christian tradition so I hit up my good friend, Google (love you Google!). I found out that there IS a 12th night tradition but my family had it all WRONG!!!
It is traditionally celebrated on the 12th day AFTER Christmas. It is the time when Christmas decorations are taken down and when they celebrated the coming of the season of Epiphany. So this year after making all the Christmas gifts for the family I thought what a great idea!! We will continue the celebration until then and end it with the feast of epiphany, God showing that Jesus was the savior and king, and put Christmas celebrations away by turning it back toward the Lord. So I had to learn more. What would I do with 5 kids to celebrate an event I had never really heard of? Again, I LOVE Google!!
It is defined by the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary as "the evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day, the eve of the Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merrymaking"
In my research I found it was tradition to have a feast, serve wassail, a King Cake, and some even gave their gifts at this time. Well, the last thing my kids needed was more gifts but the feast, cake, and cider sounded pretty good! I also saw that they would have a candle lit dinner to help to remind us of the star that the wise men followed to find the baby Jesus.
So this year I put together a plan and started with serving a nice dinner by candle light (the kids LOVED this!),
we learned about what an epiphany is, what the 3 main signs were that Jesus is king (the wise men, His baptism, and his first miracle), we sang I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In and We Three Kings of Orient Are, Talked about the symbolism in the gifts the wise men gave and then served the kings cake... or in our case cupcakes! Since this is our first year I decided that everyone would get a treat in their cake.
This year they each got a chocolate kiss in each of the cupcakes. Tradition calls for a dry bean or pea but since I have a child with a legume allergy I thought chocolate sounded WAY better!
Here they are finished with a butter frosting. Nothing too fancy because I was tired after getting all of the Christmas decorations packed up. But they were TASTY!!
I have to say that we had such a good time and the kids learned so much that I think this year we will do this with all the church holidays and quite possibly some Jewish ones too! I think we can learn a lot about the Bible and Christian history but celebrating in a hands on way! I am actually looking forward to February when Purim rolls around!
Finally we said good-bye to Christmas and packed up all the decorations. It was a wonderful Holiday season celebrating Thanksgiving, Birthdays, Christmas, New Years and the Feast of Epiphany. My advice to you is try new things (or really old ones!) and make new traditions with your family in the new year!
The Christmas train has left the station!