12 days of Christmas: too many?


Don't know about any of you, but I'm a little done with celebrating. There was the shopping and the singing and the cocoa and the fireworks and the drinking and the ... well, a lot of festivity. I'm plumb tuckered out.

Which brings me to plums. And puddings.

There was a time when all that silliness would still be going on, even on January 3rd. Back in the early 19th century, Christmas was celebrated somewhat differently. Instead of focusing on one day and having an orgy of gift-giving and eating, celebration was strung out over the whole of Christmastide.

Many of the activities were meant to distract young boys on holiday from school -- which is probably what gave rise to dangerous games such as snap dragon (snatching raisins out of bowls of flaming brandy) and hot cockles (you cover your eyes, somebody punches you, and you get to guess who it was).

On the Twelfth Night of Christmas, the eve of Epiphany, hosts served a cake with a bean and a pea cooked in, and whoever got the slices with the bean and the pea would be king and queen for the night. I can see how that could get sordid fairly quickly, but all accounts I've read were sort of tame.

Maybe they were just as tired of the celebrating as I am.

Best to you in the New Year, and thanks for stopping by.