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British Life & Culture

Calendar of Special Events & Celebrations

by Mandy Barrow

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The Twelfth Day of Christmas

5th January is Twelfth Night | 6th January is Twelfth Day

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelfth Day is the last day of Christmas season. In the Church of England, the Christmas season begins at Evening Prayer on Christmas Eve.

Twelfth Day, as its name tells us, is the sixth of January - just twelve days after Christmas Day.

Click here to read about the Twelve Days of Christmas

This day is the feast of Epiphany. The term epiphany means "to show" or "to make known" or "to reveal." In Western churches, it remembers the coming of the wise men bringing gifts to visit the Christ child, who by so doing "reveal" Jesus to the world as Lord and King.

image: Magi visit baby Jesus

In some eastern churches, Epiphany commemorates Jesus’ baptism, with the visit of the Magi linked to Christmas.

The Season of Epiphany

For many Protestant church traditions, the season of Epiphany extends from 6th January until Ash Wednesday, which begins the season of Lent leading to Easter. In some western traditions, the last Sunday of Epiphany is celebrated as Transfiguration Sunday.

The Roman Catholic tradition observes Epiphany as a single day.

What are the colours of Epiphany?

The colours of Epiphany are usually the colours of Christmas, white and gold, the colours of celebration, newness, and hope that mark the most sacred days of the church year.

The traditional liturgical colour after Epiphany is green, the colour of growth.

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When is Twelfth Night?

Twelfth Night Traditions

Click here to see photographs of the Twelfth Night annual seasonal celebration held in the Bankside area of London.

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Events and special days in the UK
Pooh down the River Thames
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