The Twelve Days of Christmas are the festive days starting with 25 December, Christmas day, until 5 of January. The period is also knows by the name of Christmastide. In many traditional Churches the Great Feast of Epiphany is considered a higher ranked feast than Christmas day. Epiphany commemorates the Baptism of Jesus, and the twelve days beginning on 25 December are considered a period of celebration.
In the Middle Ages, this was a period of continuous feasting with the most important day being the Twelfth one. The early North American colonists brought the England version of the Twelve Days, adding new variations over the years. Various festivities are traditionally enjoyed and buildings decorated. In some countries the superstitions has arisen that it brings bad luck to keep the decorations up after the Twelfth Night.
Some say that gift giving is an older tradition than Christmas. Romans would exchange gifts during the celebration of the New Year. Like other customs, gift giving was very difficult to get rid of once Christianity gained official status. There were tries to outlaw the custom, but the people didn’t want to let it go. The charity and the strong family orientation are descendant of the Victorian era. It was then when the Christmas was renewed after a period of decline. What followed was the gradual decline of inexpensive and symbolical gift giving tradition, in favor of commercialism. It was then that the main idea of Christmas changed to Santa Claus. The transition was encouraged by the merchants who wanted another holiday to benefit from it, but God help me, it wasn’t until recent times that the buying frenzy has reached these alarming levels.
Many people take the idea of gift giving at Christmas back to the scripture which talks about the Magi giving gifts to Jesus at his home “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh”.
Does giving gifts take away anything from the message of Christmas? I don’t think so, but it is important to remember the true importance and the Christian message of this Feast. For more articles on Christian topics visit: Christian Tour.