Tomorrow, January 6th, is Epiphany and with it sees the end of the Christmas period. Down the tree will come, down will come the various festive lights and decorations and the house will return to normal.
Our tree goes up relatively late (it went up on the 15th I think this year) but it’s up more than long enough for me. As my birthday falls on the 11th December, when I was little the tree never went up until around a week after my birthday, something I think my parents still follow to date (although my brother did put his own tree up earlier than the 11th this year). My parent’s tree comes down before the new year as my Dad’s birthday is 2nd January; we were always very clear to separate birthdays and Christmas time out. Damian has always left his tree up until Epiphany and that’s something that we have adopted since being married. The children, of course, love it and this year have had great fun as we have been around the various shops to get decorations and things.
Damian tells me that as a child his memory is of bringing the dining room table into the living room on Christmas Day for the Christmas meal (he doesn’t know why, though!) and a large Father Christmas plastic door poster that went up every year. Damian and his siblings adored the poster but it was despised by his mum on account of it being a bit naff.
My own memories are of my dad, brother and I head to the supermarket the weekend after my birthday (my mum worked weekends) and we would fill the trolley with crackers, crisps and other rubbish and for some reason, I seem to remember there always seemed to be loads of frozen sausage rolls. The food was all stacked up in the dining room and we weren’t allowed to touch a single crumb until Christmas Eve. My dad use to gently chide my mum about this, but the decision was firm; it wasn’t to be opened until the ‘party tea’ on Christmas Eve.
It’s funny the traditions that establish themselves and I hope we can establish some fun ones for our own children. It got me thinking about the practice in different countries around the festive period and how different cultures place emphasis on different parts of the period. One of my friends who blogs at Spud & Pudding did some stuff with her children around the different traditions. She was sharing some bits on Facebook and it’s definitely something I want to explore with Mr. D, Miss E and Mr. H next year.
Some of the traditions I intend to look at with them, as well as our own, are:
- St Nicholas Night – this looks like a lovely little tradition is celebrated in many other European countries. St Nicholas day is 6 December and there is a range of traditions including the visit from Sinterklaas (St Nicholas) and his friend Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) who visit good girls and boys on St Nicholas Eve (5th December). There is plenty of information on this great site called the St Nicholas Center and I will be looking at this next year to kick-start our Christmas time.
- In Spain, Epiphany is a big celebration and a special cake called Roscón, which means means ‘ring shape roll’. The cake is very doughy and can be filled with cream or chocolate and contain a little gift. There is talk about someone bringing one of these cakes to our Spanish group tomorrow.
- In Portugal the traditional Christmas Meal is eaten on Christmas Eve and usually consists of fish and green vegetables.
But, for now we will enjoy the final night of our tree being up and the lights twinkling away before it’s taken down tomorrow. Do you leave your tree up until Epiphany or do you take it down much sooner?
This is a collaborative post