Twelfth Night (holiday)
Twelfth Night is a festival in some branches of Christianity marking the coming of the Epiphany and concluding the Twelve Days of Christmas.
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". However, there is currently some confusion as to which night is Twelfth Night: some count the night of Epiphany itself (sixth of January) to be Twelfth Night. One source of this confusion is said to be the Medieval custom of starting each new day at sunset, so that Twelfth Night precedes Twelfth Day. In some cases the 25 December is the first day of Christmas, so therefore 5 January is the 12th day. It is erroneous to count the Christmas season as the 12 days after Christmas Day, making 6 January the Twelfth Day, as 6 January is the Epiphany, and church seasons do not overlap.
A recent belief in some English-speaking countries holds that it is unlucky to leave Christmas decorations hanging after Twelfth Night, a belief originally attached to the festival of Candlemas which celebrates the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple (2 February).
Famous quotes containing the words twelfth and/or night:
“The twelfth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Twelve lords a-leaping.”
—Unknown. The Twelve Days of Christmas (l. 8991)
“When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day.”
—Bible: Hebrew Job 7:4.