Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night is traditionally celebrated 12 days after the Winter Solstice. So tonight, we celebrate good health, prosperous crops for the new season and a closing down of the Yuletide feasting and celebrating. Though good luck is hoped for all crops, Twelfth Night was originally a Pagan celebration to wassail the orchards to encourage them to grow well and abundant fruit. Traditionally, people would bring apple/pear (or citrus) drinks in a Wassail Dish, and sprinkle the cider on the trees of the orchard. They would dance around the trees to encourage the beginning of the fruit trees waking up from their winter slumber. This would go on all day and night, wassailing every tree in every orchard in town.

After all of the feasting, it's a good idea to wind down the Yuletide season and celebrate the upcoming crop season with a healthy meal...followed by cake of course! :) Celtic Paganism celebrates the Oak King tonight. (For more information on the legend of the Oak King vs. the Holly King, here is a link with basic information.) Tradition is to bake and eat a "King Cake" (this is traditional for many religions and cultures).

Some Twelfth Night Folklore:

Whatever you dream tonight will come to pass over the next twelve months! (No crazy blind priest nightmares please!!!)

Don't go into the barn with new shoes tonight or you might bewitch the livestock. Better to freeze your toes and leave any new shoe at the barn door.

Light a fire and toss a few coins into it. The burnt coins will bring prosperity to the household for the entire year. (Just be sure not to spend them!)

To bless your land, light a candle and walk around the perimeter of your property today or tonight. This will chase off all evil spirits lingering and will bring luck to whatever you plant in the spring.

For Twelfth Night, Alex and I will have an array of leftovers from the last few night's feasts! I made an apple cake as my "King Cake" and we'll drink some Apple Cider Wassail also, as a toast to fruitful crops this season! There has been so much celebrating lately! It's been a lot of fun! :)

Happy Twelfth Night! :)


Pam Jackson said...

Thanks for the info. I enjoyed reading about it all. Leftovers....there has been so much food this holiday but I am thankful that I have not brought much home with me. I did have my ham, greens and black eyed peas yesterday....Maybe my yr will be a good one.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

This was so much fun to read. I'm so glad you have this blog. I find it fascinating and enlightening. And I hope that whatever dream I have tonight will be a good one since it's supposed to come to pass over the next twelve months! Nothing weird or scary please! LOL

wisps of words said...

Love the illustrations. And thank you for this information. I knew of counting 12, from Yule, but forgot. -blush-

Wassailing the orchards must have been a lengthy and marvelous celebration!!!!

Your Cider Wassail sounds full of vitamin C, which seems wise to consume, in this season of colds/flu! It certainly can't hurt.

Will look and see if I have something to make, G/F, which can take the place of the King Cake. And it will be leftovers for us tonight, also.

Have a very Happy Twelfth Night!!!!

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

I love this post!! I really love that top picture! If only it were mild enough to hang a lantern and dance around a tree. Maybe next Twelfth Night! :)

Man our ancestors knew how to live didn't they? And I for one wish I would have lived that time.

Rain said...

Hi Pam :)) I do hope your year will be a good one! We have so many leftovers...it's supposed to be shopping day this week and I'm lucky enough I just have to walk over to the gas station for milk, the freezer is packed!!!

Rain said...

Hi Martha :)) I hope you had a GREAT dream filled with fun things! I don't remember my dreams so I think I got away with it lol! :) I'm happy you are enjoying this blog, I'm really loving it. It's part of my pledge to be more active spiritually! :)

Rain said...

Hi Wisps of Words :)) We made the wassail and it tasted like a hot toddy actually. The orange made it slightly sour so we added some maple syrup and it was delicious! Oh gosh gluten-free...it's hard to replace flour with g/f flour that's for sure, I tried it for a year and had lots of problems with my appetite. Hope you had good dreams last night! :)

Rain said...

Hi Dianna :)) I would have loved to live a more simple life too, I always say I was born in the wrong century. But I'm working towards living that way in the future! :) I'd love to wassail an apple orchard, I think it would be so much fun!

Fundy Blue said...

What a fascinating post, Rain! I'm of Celtic stock, so I find these traditions particularly interesting. I've made wassails in the past, but I never knew the story of making the rounds of orchards and sprinkling the cider on the trees. When I was in geology at Acadia, the geology students would harvest apples in the fall and make a hard cider for a dance later in the fall. It was always quite a bash! We probably wouldn't be able to do it now. I can't remember my dreams from last night ~ Just wiped out from two days of traveling! Wishing you a Happy New Year!

Existe Sempre Um Lugar said...

Olá, a imagem é bela, desconhecia a tradição dos 12 dias, fiquei a saber mais um pouco ao passar por aqui.
Bom Ano,

Nicolas Hall said...

Rain I adore all that you shared here about Twelfth Night! Sofie and I are adopting some of these rituals ourselves fro the future. :) We are also embracing our witch-selves this year, more than ever. Her as more of a hedge witch and me as more of a kitchen witch. :) It seems we've always been so but want to make more of a practice of it.

Did not get to make a King Cake this year but its already on the list for next. G/F flours. . yes, I sometimes wish they would stop pretending to be flours. lol I've had some delicious things made with coconut, garbanzo bean and rice flours but they never resemble true traditional confections, which is fine, but I AM glad I don't need to worry about flour as I enjoy a well made pastry farrrrrr too much. lol

And a "simple life". Sigh. Sophie and I have done all that we can to reduce the frenetic buzz around our lives. We too are hoping to discover our forever, woodsy home in the coming year or two but I will say, compared to the urban life we lived 10 years ago, we have been very successful at paring down the possessions and the commitments since moving to the country. Our entire world is built around our art practice and a very simple, almost monastic routine. We work at it every day and while we too think we were born in the wrong century, we've found that we were able to create what a friend calls our "fortress of solitude" here and we protect it like mad! Time, and life, are too short to accept anything less and if I did not come up with one more creative idea, I would still not get thru the to-do list in this lifetime! :) Keep at it in your heart and thank you for another delightful read! Your blogs are true GEMS!!!

Michael said...

Gems indeed here. I love the ritual and sense of connection here you expound on here.

I don't recall my dream now but maybe that is jsut as well. AS it is, I remember usually about 5 or 6 different dreams each night but after a few days forget them.

Never had a King cake but am definitely up for one! May this new year bring you many unexpected joys. So glad you have another kindred spirit in Nicolas's writing and comments too.

I prefer mulled wine but on a cold winter's night, hot wassail will certainly do for me.

Finally, that tradition about the burnt coins is so intriguing Never heard that before either. lol.

Blogoratti said...

That's really nice and lovely to read, thanks for sharing.

Wish you great health and happiness in the new year. Best wishes!

Tammie Lee said...

lovely traditions. I like the idea of walking my property by candle light.
That painting is beautiful, did you make it?

Lovely new year to you and all of yours.

Share my Garden said...

Wassailing is still carried out around these parts - the Somerset apple orchard area. I've been to various lively events with much singing and music making and loud noises to scare away any evil intent! It was far too windy to walk around the property by candlelight this year, Storm Eleanor was blowing!
It sounds as though you have done everything right to get good crops this coming season!

Rain said...

Hi Louise :)) I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I love the old ways and the traditions that are kept up. Though I find it's a little sad that all of these interesting feasts and rituals are quickly being forgotten...at least in my part of the world. I laughed at your Acadia story...sounds like a blast!! No, I couldn't get away with that anymore lol!

Rain said...

Oi AG, fico feliz que você esteja gostando do blog! Estou muito feliz em compartilhar minhas tradições e as dos meus antepassados. :) (I hope you understood that!) :)

Rain said...

Hi Nicolas :) Thank you! I'm glad you're enjoying the blogs!! I love sharing rituals, traditions and celebrations, and I do love reading about yours too because if something really speaks to me, I will adopt it as well! I have a lot of fun, especially with the charms, like the coins.

I like what you said, that you and Sofie will be embracing your witch-selves. I have a wee little angst about my spirituality because I've been made fun of in the past. I would strongly say I'm an empath and it's not something I can handle. Happily here though, I have a lot of like-minded friends who either share my beliefs or they genuinely enjoy reading about them! I think I will adopt that too...I will embrace my pagan-self a little more openly. A hedge witch and kitchen witch sound like a great match up to me!! :) I'm pagan, ecclectic with wiccan leanings let's just say...and Alex is an atheist, but he's very supporting of me and sometimes participates in my celebrations so we're a good match too! :)

I am SO HAPPY I don't have to worry about flours either...I'm a baker, a cook and a happy lady in the kitchen...I don't think I'd be very happy without my wheat flour! The year I went gluten-free wasn't one that was pleasant for me that's for sure. The products are getting better, but there is no comparison since that's what I was brought up on.

I like the monastic routine you mentioned. I feel the same. And there is where the cheese comes in lol...my friend Dianna sent me an article about cheese-making monks and I tell you, I agree with what she said, they KNEW how to live...cheese-making, brandies, all sorts of goodies, a slow, simple life...that's what I crave. Like you two, we've come a very long way in the last few years. Alex and I met in 2013 and he was living in Montreal, working and quite the city guy. I converted him :) No, he had it in him, but it was quite a leap when I asked him to move up north with me and live a simpler life. Now we're both craving even MORE simplicity and isolation!

Rain said...

Hi Michael :) Thank you! :) Funny, most people who have commented on this post have forgotten their dreams on 12th Night! I did too! Maybe that is a GOOD thing lol!

There are lots of traditions, at least in Celtic lore, that are based on superstition, the coin charm is one of them. Does it work? I think that, as you said on Nicolas' blog comments, it's a lot of intention that goes into it. But it's also about keeping up traditions and not letting them be forgotten. Plus it's fun to do! :) Oh, I love mulled wine too!

Rain said...

Thanks Blogoratti :) I wish you all the best for the new year as well! :)

Rain said...

Hi Tammie Lee :) Thanks :) I didn't manage to walk around the property, it was far too cold!! No, I didn't do those paintings, I guess I should be crediting the "internet" when I pull out those images! :)

Rain said...

Hi Rosemary :) I think that is amazing that the wassailing tradition is still carried out in your area! If I tried to do that publicly here, I'd be drawn and quartered! It was far too cold that night here too for walking around the property, but I did think about it by my window with the candle lit! It's all about my intention!! :)