Today is the day when we say a sad farewell to the Christmas tree for another year as the 5th January, Twelfth Night, is traditionally the day we take down the decorations.
With most kids now back a school it’s a great chance to get them all safely packed away. If you just can’t bear to take them down then you could stretch it out another day until the 6th January, the Feast of the Epiphany, which, if you’re superstitious, is the very last day as leaving them up any longer may bring bad luck.
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Why do we consider it bad luck to leave our Christmas decorations up after 6th January? In the past it was believed that the holly and ivy that decorated homes was also home to tree spirits as the greenery which had been brought indoors acted as a temporary refuge for the tree spirits during the cold winter days.
Once Christmas was over the greenery had to be returned outdoor in order to release the tree spirits back outdoors. Should the greenery be left in the house it was feared that the tree-spirits would cause mischief until they were safely released outdoors.
Should the custom not be followed, vegetation and greenery would not grow and Spring would not return.
Even now, in 21st century Britain, when many Christmas trees are artificial and baubles and tinsel have all but replaced the holly and ivy, we still follow these traditions and ensure our trees and decorations are removed before the 6th January.
When did you take your Christmas decorations down this year?