Monday, January 05, 2009


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.


  1. Dearest M, what happy memories! I always think that the best thing we can do for our children is give them wonderful memories - and the photos certainly help to keep those memories alive! Have a very happy 'piphany tomorrow and I wish you a commonplace or homely experience that will bring you to a new perception of the essential meaning of life.

  2. I've had a lovely time looking through the old photograph albums, Crinny. Can you see in the party of '94 that T's gift was a mediaeval herbal remedy for untidy bedrooms? either she forgot to take it or it didn't work! Happy days, though.

  3. My parents live in the Valencian region of Spain. Epiphany is a big deal over there. It would be nice to have a little feast for my kids on Epiphany, the last feast before Candlemas(am I right there?), so you've inspired me!

  4. Dulce D - do have one. It is such a lovely way to make Christmastide really special for your family. I think I miss that more than the sound of excited cries of 'He's been!' on Christmas morning.

  5. Thanks for sharing those lovely memories with us!

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  7. I like this post on Piphany, a cute phrase.
    I wrote a book, with 5 other authors, about how to celebrate Christmas in a simple and true way, and you describe a great tradition with your family.
    With grandchildren coming along, you can pass along this celebration to a new generation. What fun!

  8. Terra
    I am glad that you like our family tradition. We had lots of fun every year when the kids were small. I have seen your website and look forward to using some of your ideas this year.


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