The Twelve Days of Christmastide
Have you ever wondered where the 'twelve days' of Christmas comes from? It's all to do with the Twelfth Night. i'm not speaking of the Shakespeare play here. I'm referring to the rather special run of days between Christmas, and 5th January. This period is known as Christmastide - and I have to say I love this word. It sounds like snow and pine-scented air, with sleigh bells and mistletoe in mind.
In Regency England, the first day of Christmas is Christmas Day (i.e., 25th December). The count then runs for twelve days until the 5th January - and that's the Twelfth Night (also known as the Christmas Epiphany ).
A Regency-era superstition includes it being 'bad luck' to leave your Christmas decorations up after the Twelfth Night. (This may explain my poor luck - because I rarely get my decorations down on time). Other popular customs include eating king cake, singing Christmas carols, chalking your door, having your home or hearth blessed, merrymaking, and attending church.
There's a fair amount of feasting and drinking during Christmastide. A drink known as wassail is made and consumed in generous (and potent) quantities on the twelfth night itself. This is a kind of mulled cider, ale, or wine. Then groups of suitably punch-drunk folks would go caroling door to door (also known back then as wassailing) - so a kind of karaoke really.
Another tradition, included preparing the Twelfth-cake, a baked loaf containing a bean and a pea. Those who received the slices containing these special ingredients become respectively king (bean) and queen (pea) of the night's festivities. In Kent, there's a custom that an edible decoration would be the last part of the Christmas decorations to be removed and shared amongst the family
The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London has had a tradition dating from the Regency era (1795) of providing a Twelfth Night cake. The will of one Robert Baddeley made a bequest of £100 to provide cake and punch every year for the performers in residence at the theatre on 6 January. This tradition continues to this day.
Twelve Days of Romance: My Christmastide Gift for You:
I'm so incredible thankful for each and every one of you who read this blog, and my novels, and hit me up on IG, Facebook, Goodreads, Bookbub, and (heaven help us) Twitter - that I honestly find myself filled with love at this time of year.
I don't know all of you well enough to gift you all I could wish - but I wanted to give you something. As writing stories are what I do best, and I'm alone these holidays (like so many others), I'll be putting out a brand new short for you all - right here, for free.
I've always wanted to try a serialised story in the style of the Regency newspapers, so while I warn you not to expect Lady Whistledown (cause that's plagiarism, and I admire Ms Quinn far too much), I'll be delivering this serial romance work across the twelve days of Christmastide. For those of you who might miss a new read, log on and read at your pleasure.
It'll be up only for the period of Christmastide. Chapter 1 begins on Christmas Day - and the last post (i.e., the HEA) will go live on 6th January. I hope you like it.