Christmas 2016: 12 Days of Celebration

This year, we at GRL didn’t quite have our act together enough to post a Christmas article on the 24th.  Lucky for us, in many countries the party doesn’t stop until January 6th (or sometimes even later).  For those of you who aren’t ready for Christmas to be over, yet, here are 5 countries that continue the celebration into January.

  1. During the Victorian period in Britainvintage-1706206_640 and the United States, there was a different celebration on each of the 12 days. Some notable feasts take place on December 27th, the Feast of St. John, December 28th, The Feast of the Holy Innocents (commemorating the slaughter of children by King Herod), January 1st, celebrating St. Mary, and January 3rd, celebrating the official naming of Jesus.  January 5th, or Twelfth Night, was a night for large celebrations, rich food, and loud music.
  2. In Mexico, children wait for the three kings to arrive on Día de los Tres Reyes Magos (Three King’s Day on January 6th). The night before, children leave a shoe in the entryway for the wise men to place candy and small gifts inside.  Water and grass is left out for the kings’ camels.  That morning, a King’s Cake, a sweet bread in the shape of a crown and decorated with candied fruit, is served.  In one of the slices is hidden a figure of the baby Jesus.  Whoever gets this slice must prepare tamales on February 2nd.
  3. In Belgium, children dress up as thegalette-des-rois-1119699_640 three kings on Epiphany and go from door to door singing songs and begging for candy and money. The Belgian King’s Cake is a puff pastry with almond filling, and is decorated with a paper crown, and may be baked with a single bean in place of a baby to represent Jesus.  Whoever gets the bean becomes king or queen for the day and claims the crown.  Doors and windows are also opened on this day to let in good luck.
  4. In Egypt, Christian’s follow the Coptic calendar, which places Christmas Eve on January 6th. Starting on November 25th, Egyptian Christians abstain from eating any animal products until after the Christmas Eve service, which may start as late as 10:30 at night.  After this service, the fast is broken with a large feast.  The following morning, people exchange sweet biscuits, throw parties, and have their houses blessed.
  5. In Ukraine, the Ukrainian Orthodoxpine-545169_640 calendar also places Christmas Eve on January 6th. During the day, people fast, drinking only holy water that has been blessed by their church.  However, as soon as the first star appears in the night sky, everyone sits down to a large meal, where 12 dishes are served to represent each of the 12 Disciples.  After dinner, Ukrainians sing Christmas carols and decorate their tree.  One decoration unique to Ukraine are spider webs, which may be small and made from silver wire or paper, or may knitted or crocheted from fine yarn large enough to drape over the entire tree.  This custom comes from the story of the Christmas Spider, wherein a poor widow could not afford to decorate her Christmas tree for her children.  The spiders took pity on them, and spent the night covering the tree in webs to decorate it.  In the morning, the first rays of sunlight turned the cobwebs into strings of silver and gold, and the family never lived in poverty again.  Because of this, cobwebs in a Christmas tree are considered good fortune.

Merry Christmas!

Posted December 28th, 2016 by Admin
Don't miss a post! Subscribe to our newsletter for the most recent posts on Great Recession Living.

Leave a Reply

View our privacy policy here.