Christians who favor classical forms of Christianity often wax eloquent (to say nothing of vociferous) about the twelve days of Christmas. What is occasionally forgotten is that the seasonal cycle of Christ’s birth and revelation as the enfleshed Son of God the Father concludes with a feast which honors the scriptural event of Christ’s presentation and his mother’s purification according to Judaic law forty days after Christmas on February 2.
In some Western customs, pious Christians considered it bad luck for Christmas decorations to be up after Candlemas. This indicates that they perceived the Christmas season (as distinct from the twelve day feast itself) to continue until Candlemas. Christmas decor was acceptable and could remain in place up to (and perhaps including) this celebration; after Candlemas, the Christmas season definitely ended, and people boxed their decorations for another year.
Yesterday I dined in a nearby International House of Pancakes. Among the ordinary songs of the Muzak playlist, holiday tunes occasionally still played. None of them were Christmas carols, I noted, but it was still interesting to hear an establishment such as Muzak (or a surrogate music service) continuing to play holiday music over a week after New Year’s Day. Usually, secular marketers have boxed up and forgotten everything Christmas before the twelve days are even half-way over.
I grant that the holiday tunes selected were far from Christmas carols: they included Amy Grant’s cover of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and Wilson Philips’ “Hey Santa,” among others. However, I smiled as I mused that it perhaps could be a start towards extending the holiday season into January rather than into October.
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