Decking the house in baubles and Christmas decorations is a central part of the festive season’s celebrations, but it will soon be time to take the decorations down again
In the run-up to Christmas, there’s nothing more to get you in the festive mood than the Christmas tree in the corner of a room, festooned with twinkly lights and an array of baubles.
But now we’ve welcomed in 2019 our thoughts are turning back to school and work and the sagging branches are looking a bit sad. There’s probably more pine needles on the floor than on the lower boughs, and that traditional Christmas tree smell has all but disappeared.
You may have already taken them down, but the tradition, since the Victorian era, is to remove decorations on Twelfth Night.
Every year this very tradition causes confusion, as people are left scratching their heads wondering when the date falls and why. Read on for the answers and the date when you should take down your decorations.
When is Twelfth Night?
Depending on which faith you follow it’s either the 5th or 6th of January, and the last day you should keep festive decorations up.
A day sooner or later is considered unlucky, and if decorations are not removed on Twelfth Night then according to tradition they should stay up all year.
Until the 19th century though, people would keep their decorations up until Candlemas Day on 2nd February.
Twelfth Night falls on 5th January and Epiphany on 6th January. Twelfth Night is so called because traditionally Christmas was a 12 day celebration, beginning on December 25. This can create some confusion as some will class the 6th of January as Twelfth Night because it is the 12th day after Christmas.
Epiphany marks the end of Christmas, when Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist and the Three Kings came to visit bearing gifts, guided by the star which is now represented in the twinkling lights adorning our homes.
Why is it unlucky?
The 5th of January is observed as the last day of Christmas festivities – the eve of the Epiphany.
In the past it was believed that tree-spirits lived in the greenery – such as holly and ivy – that people used to decorate their homes.
While the festive season provided shelter for these spirits during the winter, they needed to be released outside once Christmas was over.
If this custom wasn’t followed, greenery would not return and vegetation would not grow as a result, causing agricultural and then food problems.
Even though Christmas decorations are now less about foliage and more about baubles, glitter, tinsel and singing Santas, many people still adhere to the superstition.
What can I do with my Christmas tree?
Across the Borough of St Helens, Xmas trees can be recycled at these locations
For those further afield, this is a good place to check https://www.recyclenow.com/local-recycling