Yesterday, Margaretha wrote about the Swedish customs of Twelfth Night and Knut. I told her that I would try to find some photographs of our family celebration of Twelfth Night and I have copied a few from the album. Most people see Twelfth Night as the end of the Christmas holiday season, the day to take down the decorations and dispose of the tree. But for church-goers it is a feast day - the Epiphany - and in some countries it is a greater festival than Christmas Day.
Epiphany was too difficult a word for our little ones, who established "Piphany" as the new name of the feast. A very special friend used to come to stay with us after Christmas and she would help us to make decorations, party food and whatever the special activity of the day was to be. It might be a drama, a treasure hunt or making cakes to give away.
Here is the Piphany Party of 1982. Paper crowns were worn by all, including the toys. The children had cut out figures of the kings and there were small gifts and lots of candles.
A few years later, our special friend was again helping the children to decorate the dining room.
We moved to another house in another county but our traditional celebration came with us. Our special friend came to lead the celebrations whenever she could.
We haven't had a real Piphany celebration since the youngsters left home. I have put the kings into the crib but there are no gifts hiding around the house and there won't be any party fare tomorrow. I hope we will be able to start again in future years, when we have grandchildren coming to stay. It is a lovely way to bring the Christmas holidays to an end.
Epiphany : a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.