Friday, January 06, 2012

Epiphany and Twelfth Night in Cyprus.

Today is the last day of the Christmas Season. Next week, schools will start, businesses will re-open, and life will get back to an approximation of normal. As I explained last year, Epiphany - 6th January - is a big deal in Cyprus. The Greek Orthodox Church (unlike some other branches of Orthodoxy) celebrate Christmas on December 25th like we Protestants do, but Epiphany is marked too.

Not that we did anything special this year. It's a public holiday, and I had vaguely thought that, if nothing else, I would take down the Christmas decorations. After all, Epiphany is also known as Twelfth night.. right? Or so I had believed for many years. Indeed, this is apparently what I was still convinced of as recently as 2008 when we took down our Christmas decorations on January 5th, a day early, as we thought...

However, by last year I had done some research, and realised that Twelfth Night starts on the evening of January 5th. So, if one is going to follow tradition, decorations should come down at some point on the day before Epiphany. I'm not really into tradition, but this time of year seems as good at time as any to put away reminders of Christmas, or we'd get so used to them we might forget they were there.

It wasn't until yesterday evening that I suddenly remembered that there was some confusion over the date of Twelfth Night. So I looked it up again, and then, since I wasn't doing anything else for twenty minutes, I decided I might as well take everything down. 'Everything' being a bit of a misnomer as we don't really do a lot of decorating for Christmas.

First I collected the various candles and their holders that we place around the house, and our somewhat stylised Nativity scene, which we were given when we first moved here. I took down the Christmas cards too - rather reluctantly, since some of them only arrived this week, and it's highly likely that there are a few more still to come. This is the sum total of our non-tree decorations:

Next, I un-decorated the tree. That didn't take long. It looks rather a scanty set of items here, some of them slightly odd... they're quite an eclectic mixture. Some with memories attached, some because we like them, and some which just appear in the decoration box each year... 

Then the tree lights. We bought these about ten or twelve years ago - inexpensive ones, since they never seem to last more than a year or two. Evidently these ones were good value, however, as they're still going strong. Last year we just bundled them up, and they were a bit tricky to untangle when I put the tree up a few weeks ago. So this year I attempted to put them in the Christmas light holder, with not a lot of success... 

Finally, after putting everything else in boxes, it was time to take the tree apart and pack it away in its box. Sophia always seems to find this part very interesting:

Then all the boxes were packed away in a high cupboard in my study, and we sat down to watch one of my Christmas DVDs - the excellent 'King's Speech', which our sons recommended highly to us. 

No comments: