As I typed the title I looked at the word ‘twelfth’ and my mind wandered from my intention to write about twelfth night to the actual word and spelling.  Off I am on a tangent about language.  I love language.  I like the use sound and discussions of it.

On the phone the other day I was talking with a young girl about a return and heard her voice and intonation and use of language and asked where she was sitting as we were speaking and sure enough Georgia.  I could hear it in her voice and how she used her words.

Look at the spelling of twelfth. What other word has those particular letters all put together?  Fun that we can google anything.  I put those letters in – the LFTH part – and voila a couple of things.

I was sent to the acronym dictionary which had a list of all the acronyms.  It came up with the words ‘Living from the Heart’ as a definition.  I also found that a business uses these letters for its name ‘Loving from the Heart’.

The most fun was to discover that it is the insignia for an airport in Toulon, France. It is named  LFTH – Toulon-Le Palyvestre/Hyeres International Airport.

It also is a twitter handle for someone.  That folks is your fun with words and letters for the day!!!


This is the weekend for the last of the 12 days of Christmas.  Tonight is known and Twelfth Night.  Tomorrow is Epiphany.


e·piph·a·ny  [ih-pif-uh-nee]  noun, plural e·piph·a·nies.

1.( initial capital letter  ) a Christian festival, observed on January 6, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi; Twelfth-day.

2. an appearance or manifestation, especially of a deity.

3.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.

4.a literary work or section of a work presenting, usually symbolically, such a moment of revelation and insight.

Simply for me it is when the Wise Men got to the manger.  Think about it.  Every crèche you have ever seen has the Kings already there.  Scripture says they followed a star.  So I have always looked at it this way.  Christ is born and a star appears so it takes them some time to get there.  Melchior, Casper and Balthazar had to travel.  Evidently it took 12 days.  Seems logical to me. Of course I also realize God’s time is not mine.

I told this to some neighbors of ours when we lived in Memphis.  They had this lovely outdoor wooden crèche complete with stable.  I said casually, ‘You know the Wise Men had to get there so you should have them march across you lawn.’  Sure enough she moved them all far away from the stable and each day for the 12 days moved them closer.  What a hoot.  It was a fun thing to see!!!

This is the time in church when we sing the song “We Three Kings”.   Every and I mean EVERY time this song is sung my husband will put in the words,

We three kings form Orient are,smoking on our big black cigar, it was loaded it exploded, we two kings from Orient are… 

He thinks it is funny.  The kids did too and of course I was furious as they would all be giggling in church!!!  The real chorus is:

We three kings of Orient are,Bearing gifts we traverse afar,Field and fountain, moor and mountain,Following yonder star.

He still attempts even now and I give him ‘the look’!

Twelfth night ends in celebrations in many areas.   From Wikipedia I found that the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines it as:

 “the evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day, the eve of the Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merrymaking”.[1] However, there is currently some confusion as to which night is Twelfth Night:[2] most count the night of Epiphany itself (sixth of January) to be Twelfth Night.[2] One source of this confusion is said to be the Medieval custom of starting each new day at sunset[citation needed], so that Twelfth Night precedes Twelfth Day.

It is the festival of branches.  Trees and Christmas decorations are to be down on or by then or it is bad luck.  In Colonial America the wreath was left on the door until 12th night.

The celebration was about food and drink as well.  The punch that was served was called a wassail and king cake was served.  The French and English buried a bean or pea in the cake and the one who got it was designated as the King or Queen of the night.  Got to figure out how to do that and get it for me on a daily basis!!!

In modern times now if it is celebrated at all it is a party with food and drink.  There might be a king cake.  Traditionally it was the opening of festival season which ended with Mardi Gras.  This celebration as well has passed except in New Orleans where modern day Carnival parties still exist.  People gather and have a King Cake party.  The tradition with the King Cake parties is that the person who gets the toy baby that is baked in the cake hosts the next weeks party.  These parties continue until Mardi Gras which marks the end of festivals and the beginning of Lent.

This year our twelfth night will be rather calm though we will be gathering with some friends on Sunday afternoon for other reasons – who knows we could celebrate Twelfth Night with wassail and king cake!!!  I have a rummy fruitcake that just might be a decent substitute!!!


One comment on “TWELFTH NIGHT

  1. Being Greek, The Epiphany was always a special celebration for the Greek Side of my family. We even had a much older “cousin” named Epiphany (Cousin Eppy). On the nearest Sunday to the 6th we would travel back to Brooklyn, drive up Ocean Parkway and turn onto Avenue U to Aunt Stasa’a house where we would be greeted by hugs, kisses and the most wonderful aromas of Greek foods cooked, baked or still cooking. We would go off to the local Greek Orthodox Church where we all stand there with burning candles throughout the mass. Can you remember holding a candle for long period of time when you were 7 or 8 years old? It is impossible to keep it straight up and down – so during those young years I would get wax all over the floor and seats in front of us. In those days I was quite used to getting a swat in the can, but for a few momnets I was safe because I knew it did not come during church – it would be later unless I could successfully dart away from my mother. Sometimes that worked – sometimes it didn’t. Then back in the car and over to Aunt Stasa’s to spend the day eating and listening to adults laugh. They sure had a lot to laugh about. I could never figure it out then, but now I find myself doing the same things with my friends.

    Happy New Year – Χριστός γεννιέται

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