The Twelve Days of Christmas

The Regency Christmas season lasted from Christmas Eve till Twelfth Night, the eve of the Epiphany (when the arrival of the magi at Christ’s side is celebrated). Each day was filled with music making, skating on frozen ponds, and gentle rustic pursuits.

The custom of the First Foot on New Years Day was particularly important. It was considered very lucky if the first visitor to “set foot” over one’s threshold was a well-favored, dark haired man. (How very practical! When isn’t a tall, dark and handsome man at one’s door good luck?) Often in small villages, a fellow who fit the description would be appointed to visit every home, bringing symbolic gifts of salt for wealth, coal for warmth, and bread for food. The householders would offer him food and drink in return and an auspicious year was assured.

Twelfth Night was filled with even more revelry than Christmas Day itself. This was a time for amateur theatricals, music and games. A bean was hidden inside a cake and the person who discovered the bean was proclaimed the Lord of Misrule and might dictate the events of the evening. With wassail flowing and spirits high, Twelfth Night was a fitting end to the Regency Christmas celebration.

We love to make the holidays last, so my DH and I are heading back to Missouri after the 25th to be with our oldest daughter and my parents. Christmas will come with us.

Do you extend your holiday celebration beyond December 25th?

8 thoughts on “The Twelve Days of Christmas

  1. MiaMarlowe says:

    Deb–He has to eat sometime. Most guys love their momma’s cooking. ;-) Have a lovely Christmas.

  2. Deb says:

    We just spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with family. Sometimes, we’ll go to my folks on New Year’s Day, but generally just stay home. Our son is coming home for Christmas (he’s a Marine in CA), but don’t know how much we’ll see him since he will probably spend as much time with his girlfriend as he can. :)

  3. MiaMarlowe says:

    Grace–Let me know when you post that blog and I’ll build a link to it here.

  4. MiaMarlowe says:

    So glad I could help, Maggie! Can’t wait to read your scene. Love you back.

  5. MiaMarlowe says:

    Romance Girl–My DH is a well-favored dark-haired man, so I tell him he could’ve made out like a bandit if he’d been born in the Regency! Sorry. I don’t loan him out. ;-)

  6. Grace Elliot says:

    Lovely post – I just wrote a similar article about Victorian Christmas superstitions for my blog – great minds think alike!

  7. Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe says:

    I love you! After reading this, I have the perfect scene in mind for current WIP. I’m gonna have to pay you as my research consultant, LOL.
    We have spent most New Year’s Eves with the same friends for over thirty years. They’re coming here from VA on the 30th and I can’t wait!

  8. Romance Girl says:

    Mia, you can schedule a visit for the dark haired stranger to my house. :-)

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