Saturday, January 5, 2013

Wrong about Twelfth Night

So, traditional members of Western societies just to the left of the dateline, you're thinking of spending one last night looking at your Christmas trees and sparkly outside lights, before stripping the lot tomorrow on Twelfth Night? Wrong! But don't feel too bad about it: I've been wrong up till now, too, thinking that 6th January was the day Christmas ended. Surprisingly, given my innumeracy, it's not a maths thing, it's a clock thing.

Turns out, in olden times, the day was considered to end when the sun went down, not at some arbitrary time in the middle of the night, and the next day began when darkness fell. So, Christmas Eve on the 24th was actually the evening of Christmas Day and so the first day of Christmas, meaning that the twelfth day falls on January 5th.
Having sorted all that out, though, we still didn't get it quite right as, being in the southern hemisphere, it's not dark till nearly 9pm, which is rather late to be standing on ladders and wrestling with a desiccated pine tree and hoovering up needles, so we've done it in the daytime, in the heat but also the light. The sole remaining pet ignored the whole production, for the last time - sadly, she won't see another Christmas - and the daughters were out enjoying the day, so it fell to us two to pack it all away, aware that when the boxes are re-opened in about 11 months' time, it'll also be just us putting it all up again, since the offspring will have well and truly sprung by then.

Anyway, Christmas is over and now our focus is on summer. That's where we Downunders have the advantage over all those winter people, who now have the worst of their weather still to come, and no pretty lights to relieve the gloom. Shame.

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