Up until recently I thought that the Twelve Days of Christmas were the twelve days before Christmas. Not so. These twelve days, The Twelve Days of Christmas, are twelve days after Crīstesmæsse, the Chrsitmastide.
Twelve days came down to us from centuries past to represent the timing of the Magi, the Wise Ones from the East who followed stars and discovered something unimaginable—the Christ child in a stable.
And so this year, here in the 21st century, we are celebrating for twelve days after Christmas anticipating Epiphany or Three Kings Day.
Here are some ideas how you might too…
- In remembrance, you might engage in the tradition of chalking the year and initials of the Magi above your door: CMB (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar), this, and the phrase Christus mansionem benedicat, which translated means "may Christ bless the house."
- Make a King’s Cake
- Read or watch Shakespeare’s comedic Twelfth Night
- Construct and decorate a King’s crown or dress up as kings
- Paint the stars – Wash watercolor paper with a watercolor to simulate sky. Lightly sprinkle salt on the picture while it is still wet. The texture will increase as the salt absorbs the water around it but leaves the pigment behind. This chemical reaction leaves little light spots where the salt grains landed—simulated stars. Contemplate the journey of the Magi.
Here’s to keeping our hearts contemplating the curiosity of days, hope and joy for the New Year.
- The Whole Blackbird Team!