Catholic Culture: The Twelve Days of Christmas

Contrary to popular believe the Twelve Days of Christmas start ON Christmas, not BEFORE. I have hardly seen anything advertised correctly or met people who know this fact. The Twelve Days of Christmas are the days between Christmas Eve and the Epiphany (the day the Three Magi visited Baby Jesus).

the_twelve_days_of_christmas_-_brett

As a kid, we did not consistently celebrate the Epiphany even though it is a Hispanic “equivalent” to Christmas Day. In many Hispanic households, children get presents from the Three Kings when they put out straw in their shoes (like cookies and stockings). My mom really used the Epiphany as a last-minute gift giving holiday if something didn’t arrive in time or she lost a gift hidden in the household somewhere…which happened a couple of times!

Read more: Celebrating “La Befana” Cuban Style

Once I moved to college I began celebrating the Epiphany as a way to extend the holiday celebrations with my roommates. I took it upon myself to make a traditional Cuban Christmas Eve meal and we exchanged gifts. Now that Will and I are forming our own household we still keep up the tradition of celebrating the Epiphany as a “Christmas with friends” and that is the day we exchange our gifts.

So for those of you who just can’t get enough of Christmas, keep playin’ those tunes until January 6th! It’s still the Christmas season!

JMF

P.S. the images with this post are from a Jan Brett’s Christmas books, some of my favorite!

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