Dumb question...but are most people unaware that the 12 Days of Christmas...

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Posted 12/7/2012 by Dani-Mani in NSBR Board
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Dani-Mani
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Posted: 12/7/2012 3:18:49 PM
are not the 12 days before Christmas??

I see this mistake a lot and was wondering how common this belief is?



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scrapper100
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Posted: 12/7/2012 3:22:06 PM
I think it is a pretty common mistake.


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Posted: 12/7/2012 3:22:21 PM
I will be honest, I don't actually know what days are the 12 Days of Christmas.In part, because I've never cared enough to find out.


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Posted: 12/7/2012 3:24:13 PM
I assume it's from Christmas til the epiphany. But I also think most people don't care.


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Dani-Mani
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Posted: 12/7/2012 3:26:51 PM
Well, people may not care, but it does make for confusion.

Our local store told me today about their 12 days of Christmas sale. I asked if it started the day after Christmas or if they would be open on Christmas...

Naturally, the sale is the 12 days before Christmas. I honestly didn't realize that people weren't aware of that, especially Christians given that both Christmas Day and the epiphany are usually mentioned in church!




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Posted: 12/7/2012 3:27:19 PM

But I also think most people don't care.

This.

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Posted: 12/7/2012 3:29:01 PM
I just know that after twelve days, the church changes the Christmas decor and it is time to take the tree down.

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Posted: 12/7/2012 3:30:38 PM
Despite knowing when the church celebrates Epiphany, I like to observe the 12 days before Christmas because it ties in with Swedish traditions. December 13th is St. Lucia Day, and that is when my family put up the Christmas decorations.


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Posted: 12/7/2012 3:33:30 PM
I have stopped being surprised when I hear people thinking they are the 12 days leading up to Christmas.

I am less surprised when people do not know the meaning behind them.



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myshelly
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Posted: 12/7/2012 3:34:13 PM
Not all churches mention epiphany. Many, many Christians don't know what epiphany is.


I don't think of the 12 days of christmas as a modern thing and wouldn't expect people to know when they were, historically.

My tree has never stayed up past new years. That's the end of the season to me.




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Posted: 12/7/2012 3:35:02 PM
I think they are just riding on the phrase and using it for marketing since so many people don't even celebrate religiously.

ETA: If they did the marketing at the 'appropriate' time it would be after Christmas and they wouldn't make as much money from that, would they?


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Posted: 12/7/2012 3:35:16 PM
I was raised in an LDS home and never celebrated the 12 days of Christmas. It was just a Christmas song. I'm still not familiar with epiphany.

We celebrated Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Years Eve. The days in between were just regular days.

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Posted: 12/7/2012 3:38:42 PM
Yup. I've now even stopped being surprised by people who try to "compromise" with those arguing before-after by suggesting 6 before 6 after. huh? You don't get to pick the 12 days!

check out the apple 12 days of Christmas app... It never fails that comments are full of one star reviews because the sale starts boxing day, but people wanted their 'gifts' before Christmas.

Dani-Mani
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Posted: 12/7/2012 3:42:38 PM
I grew up in a Southern Baptist church that does not (and still doesn't) celebrate the epiphany so I'm not sure what that has to do with it.




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Posted: 12/7/2012 3:45:03 PM
It's been my experience, as a Protestant, that Epiphany is more commonly discussed and celebrated in the Catholic church. Several of my Catholic friends have an Epiphany Brunch every year at their homes. Kind of an open house deal. Most of my Protestant friends (regardless of denomination) are clueless.


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Posted: 12/7/2012 3:59:34 PM
Yeah, I don't think people know. I love Christmas and leave everything up until epiphany, then it comes down. It doesn't come up at church really (kinda, just not really lol {Lutheran}). What drives me crazy are the people who think/say its dec 1-12.


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Posted: 12/7/2012 4:20:32 PM
I am church of Christ and have never heard of the epiphany. The 12 days of Christmas is just a song to me.


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Posted: 12/7/2012 4:32:11 PM
I grew up knowing what the 12 days of Christmas are and what Epiphany is. The wise men from our nativity set were always placed strategically across the room on Christmas, and over the 12 days they were relocated to an end table, then the coffee table, and finally in front of the nativity set on January 6. The tree and decorations came down on January 7th.

I also learned about epiphany/twelfth night through studying Shakespeare in high school and college. I'm sure most people don't care, but it seems like an educated person should at least have a passing familiarity with the origin of the title of one of Shakespeare's most famous comedies.



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Posted: 12/7/2012 4:40:32 PM
I do only because of our Catholic friends. They move the wisemen from their nativity set down the hall and toward the manger scene a little bit every day until January 6th.

I'm Baptist and have never heard anything about it in church.




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Posted: 12/7/2012 4:49:56 PM

Taken from Religion Facts.com

Epiphany is observed in more orthodox churches as the first observance was in 361AD.

Epiphany is a Christian feast celebrating the 'shining forth' or revelation of God to mankind in human form, in the person of Jesus Christ.

The observance had its origins in the eastern Christian churches, and included the birth of Jesus Christ; the visit of the three Magi (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar) who arrived in Bethlehem; and all of Jesus' childhood events, up to his baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist. The feast was initially based on (and viewed as a fulfillment of) the Jewish Feast of Lights. This was fixed on January 6.

in the Latin church, the feast of Christmas was established before that of Epiphany. Over time the western churches decided to celebrate Christmas on December 25. The eastern churches continued to treat January 6 as the day marking Jesus's birth. This has given rise in the west to the notion of a twelve day festival, starting on December 25, and ending on January 6, called the twelve days of Christmas, although some Christian cultures — especially those of Latin America — extend it to 40 days, ending on Candlemas, or February 2 (known as Candelaria in Spanish).

Prior to 1970, the Roman Catholic Church (and prior to 1976, the Anglican churches) reckoned Epiphany as an eight-day feast, beginning on January 6 and continuing through the Octave of Epiphany, or January 13. More recently, Roman Catholics in the United States mark Epiphany on the Sunday after the first Saturday in January (before this the Sunday between January 1 and January 6, in years when there was one, was designated the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus), and all Catholics and Anglicans (along with many other Protestants) now formally end the Christmas season on the Sunday immediately following January 6, or, for American Catholics, the ensuing Monday in years when the Epiphany falls on January 7 or 8. In either case, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord is observed on the latter day, after which the first installment of Ordinary Time begins.

Today in Eastern Orthodox churches, the emphasis at this feast is on the shining forth and revelation of Jesus Christ as the Messiah and second person of the Holy Trinity at the time of his baptism. Usually called the Feast of the Theophany, it is one of the great feasts of the liturgical year. "Theophany" comes from the Greek for "God shining forth."

The Irish call this day Little Christmas. In Rome, "Epiphania" was transformed into Befana, the great fair held at that season, when sigillaria of terracotta or baked pastry were sold (Macrobius I, x, xxiv; II, xlix).

In Spanish tradition, on this day, the Magi deliver Christmas presents.

CheleOh
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Posted: 12/7/2012 4:50:57 PM
I think people who worship in a more liturgical church (follow a yearly PLAN for each service) are more familiar with advent, epiphany, etc.

I was raised "kindof" Episcopalian with a Roman Catholic father. We were Holiday Christians. I have vague memories of those terms being tossed around. When I was in high school, I began my own journey and have attended non-denominational churches since then.

My daughter was a theology major and considers herself a church-history nerd. She has done her duty to re-educate me about the terms. Since I'm a (plain-old) history nerd, I appreciate the traditions of the early church, but I don't care for them as a participant.

Keegan (daughter) is in the process of being ordained in the Nazarene church. She has chosen a more liturgical process of worship which is totally fine with me. I'm fully supportive of everyone's - even my children's - choice in how they seek (or DON'T!) God.

I would be REALLY miserable if my mom or dad had forced me to "stay" in a liturgical church, but I am comfortable enough to attend most any church and enjoy its style of worship.

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Posted: 12/7/2012 4:53:02 PM


It's one thing to have traditions be absorbed into the larger secular culture. It's another thing when they are hijacked and subverted and totally presented wrongly in the larger culture. It's almost like it has been 'stolen' because the idea of it being the 12 days before is so very dominent.







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melanell
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Posted: 12/7/2012 5:13:13 PM
I think that some people do not know, and others do not care.

Retail and media move on the second Christmas Day is over, which leads people who want to incorporate the 12 Day of Christmas theme into their ads, specials, etc. to use it beforehand, even if they "know better", kwim?

There is a fairly large number of people who celebrate Christmas on Jan. 6th around here, but even here you don't see mention of The 12 DAYS OF cHRISTMAS AFTER dEC. 25TH HAS PASSED.


Crud. Sorry for the cap lock.


I adore anything 12 Days of Christmas related, so while I know the "truth" about it, but I'll take what I can get.

We have always done something for "Little Christmas", but because my husband's family is Russian, we do even more for the Epiphany now.

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Posted: 12/7/2012 5:53:37 PM
Snopes: The 12 Days of Christmas Song

Snopes says the claim that it is related to Catholicism and the Epiphany are incorrect other than it was sung on 12th Night. It is a secular "memory and forfeit" song (probably about types of birds) and much older than the time when Catholics were persecuted in England.

And the story about the Candy Cane is false too as is the belief about Hot Cross Buns, that is a pagan symbol as well just like the Yule Log and Christmas Tree.


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Posted: 12/7/2012 6:26:06 PM
Raised Catholic: My mom gives the grand kids each a bag with twelve small presents, one to open for each day until the Feast of the Epiphany. (Like a pair of socks or a hair doo-dad or a Lego figure.)

So, although their friends have taken down Christmas trees and decorations, my kids are still opening presents.






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Posted: 12/7/2012 6:27:40 PM
Mapchic, you cannot be serious? A catholic making such claims of hijacking something? You mean like how your church hijacked all those Pagan
celebrations?


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Posted: 12/7/2012 6:35:11 PM
1/2 Greek Orthodox family here. We know!


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Posted: 12/7/2012 6:47:14 PM
I'm familiar with it only because of friends that celebrate their Ukrainian Christmas in January.


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Posted: 12/7/2012 6:55:12 PM
I read the pasted article above, but I still don't know what the epiphany is, sorry. Can someone explain it to me? I've never read about anything called the epiphany in the Bible, but I could have just missed it.

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Posted: 12/7/2012 7:44:54 PM
I'm a heathen and I don't know what you are talking about.



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Posted: 12/7/2012 8:19:19 PM

I've never read about anything called the epiphany in the Bible, but I could have just missed it.


You have, you just didn't recognize it. In the Western Church (Catholic, Anglican, Episcopalian, Lutheran, other mainline Protestant churches) Epiphany (the Greek word for manifestation) commemorates the arrival of the Magi (the Three Wise Men.) In the Eastern Church (Orthodox, Ukranian, Russian, Greek) it is called Theophany (Greek for a manifestation of God - Theo=God) and commemorates the Baptism of Christ. Both the arrival of the Magi and the Baptism of Christ are in the Bible.

Regardless of what is being celebrated, the feast on January 6th ends the 12 Days of Christmas, and the night before is called Twelfth Night, and as others have mentioned is the title of a Shakespeare Play.

What the article above kind of awkwardly explained was that originally, the birth, arrival of the Magi, and the Baptism of Christ were all commemorated on January 6th (and still is to this day in the Armenian Church) and in about the 300s the two feasts gradually separated, and the commemorations of the Baptism (which is celebrated on the Sunday closest to January 6th in the West) and the Magi (which is celebrated on Christmas Day in the East) also separated.

To add another wrinkle, many (not all, mine does not) Orthodox Churches use the Julian Calendar, which is currently 13 days behind the Gregorian and Civil Calendar. Therefore, Christmas Eve is January 6th (on the civil calendar) in those churches. They still celebrate Theophany, it is 13 days later (January 19th on the Civil Calendar)


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Posted: 12/7/2012 8:40:01 PM
Enough that I want to post a rant every time I see it.

I'm better now, I write a rant in word and then delete, rather than post.

Grew-up with the 12 Days being AFTER. And those 12 days ARE when you sung Christmas carols, listen to Christmas recordings & watch Christmas specials. Through the magic and science of data recording, we can match to the celebration NOT the preparation/buying season.

As to adopting local traditions... Most were baptized as the people that observed/celebrated were baptized. More the merrier!


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Posted: 12/7/2012 8:40:45 PM
Thank you Mimima. That is very interesting.

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Posted: 12/7/2012 8:45:27 PM
I can honestly say I don't think I've ever thought about it before. I think I just always assumed it was an old fashioned thing that people didn't really do anymore.




sugarcoated
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Posted: 12/7/2012 8:54:04 PM
To make it super simple: Epiphany commemorates the arrival of the Wise Men to Baby Jesus and Jesus being made known to mankknd. And even if you think your church never mentions it, you might see it on thst little board listing your hymns - the hymn numbers are often preceded by the Church season. Right now it may say Advent. Since it is not yet Christmas.

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Posted: 12/7/2012 9:09:12 PM
Yep. Cradle Catholic and know the 12 days and the Epiphany.

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Posted: 12/7/2012 10:22:15 PM
I know it because I'm Roman Catholic & because I live in Lousiana where we celebrate Mardi Gras & 12th night starts the Mardi Grad season.

But b4 becoming Catholic & living in Louisiana, I had no idea what the 12 days of Christmas was.
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Posted: 12/7/2012 10:46:56 PM

I know it because I'm Roman Catholic & because I live in Lousiana where we celebrate Mardi Gras & 12th night starts the Mardi Grad season.

Well as long as it has to do with Mardi Gras.

I'd never heard the term Epiphany in this context until reading it here on two peas when people took their tree down.

I'm not uneducated, just not very religious and not at all a fan of Shakespeare. If it wasn't assigned, I didn't read it. The 12 days and epiphany mean very little to me.

It interests me in that not every Christian sect believes the same way when it comes to this topic.


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Posted: 12/8/2012 12:05:27 AM

I'm sure most people don't care, but it seems like an educated person should at least have a passing familiarity with the origin of the title of one of Shakespeare's most famous comedies.


So not knowing Shakespeare means you are uneducated?
I had no idea what the epiphany was or when the 12 days of Christmas are. It's not really relevant to me.

gar
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Posted: 12/8/2012 2:07:03 AM

I'm sure most people don't care, but it seems like an educated person should at least have a passing familiarity with the origin of the title of one of Shakespeare's most famous comedies.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



So not knowing Shakespeare means you are uneducated?
I had no idea what the epiphany was or when the 12 days of Christmas are. It's not really relevant to me.


Shakepeare is a fairly basic part of most secondary school age education systems, yes.

It's not 'relevant' to me either particularly, being aetheist, but that doesn't mean I haven't heard of it, come across it or have a basic understanding of the meaning of it.





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Posted: 12/8/2012 5:48:08 AM
I know the religious significance of the 12 days.

I also know the secular version of 12 days.

Not sure why a store or anyone else who wants to use a countdown to Christmas isa big deal. Not seeing the point of the outrage on this. Then again, there's rarely a point to this kind of outrage.

Surely, there can be more than one meaning or use of 12 days.

dottyscrapper
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Posted: 12/8/2012 6:22:51 AM
I'm surprised that so many Christians don't know the meaning of Epiphany!

It isn't just the Catholic & Orthodox churches that celebrate the date.
Here in the UK the protestant Church of England celebrates the event too.

It's a celebration of the maifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.

The Three wise Men are one of the most obvious. They followed the star from the east where they first saw it( Christmas day) and arrived in Bethlehem having followed it for days. The Three Wise Men were the first gentiles to publicly recognise the divinity of Jesus.
The other two main manifestations is the baptism of Christ in the river Jordan and the first miracle at the wedding in Cana.





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Posted: 12/8/2012 7:15:53 AM
I will freely admit that Iknow nothing about the religious significance of the 12 Days of Christmas. I'm not religious at all and haven't ever been.

That being said... I crew up in a highly LDS community. We were often the recipients of some "12 Days of Christmas" goodies and they were always done before Christmas.

Lindapinda
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Posted: 12/8/2012 7:29:58 AM
In Norway some (mostly the older crowd) follow the rule of "The thirteenth day of Yule" wich means the Christmas decorations are to be taken down on January 6th. That's the only thought I've given to the 12 days of Christmas. Other than trying to avoid that boring song

HippyPea
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Posted: 12/8/2012 7:49:04 AM
I am a pretty hardcore heathen but I have always been aware that it was the 12 days after
Christmas. But I agree with this:

. What drives me crazy are the people who think/say its dec 1-12.



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Posted: 12/8/2012 10:11:20 AM
"Shakepeare is a fairly basic part of most secondary school age education systems, yes. "

I never read shakespeare in school. Ever.
I read it on my own.
Not all schools have the lids reading that.

I don't find it odd that a lot of people font know when the 12 days of Christmas is.
Not everyone is religious or goes to church. Not everyone is Christian.
I do know when the 13 days of Christmas is and why it's called that and so do my kids. But I don't hold it against anyone that doesn't know


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Posted: 12/8/2012 11:13:25 AM
Yes, I've always known.

It's perfectly fine many people are unaware of what it is, what it means, etc. It's also fine that most people don't care. It isn't OK to move it simply because you'd like to. I don't know a lot about Yom Kippur and have no idea about Ramadan, but you don't see me trying to change the date.




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Posted: 12/8/2012 11:15:13 AM

t's perfectly fine many people are unaware of what it is, what it means, etc. It's also fine that most people don't care. It isn't OK to move it simply because you'd like to. I don't know a lot about Yom Kippur and have no idea about Ramadan, but you don't see me trying to change the date.
Is a store doing a 12 day promotion really moving the date or are they using a really smart marketing concept for the holiday shopping season?

Miglets
StuckOnPeas

PeaNut 19,198
July 2001
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Posted: 12/8/2012 11:24:44 AM
I see your point, but it depends on who you're aiming for. If I read about a 12 days of Christmas sale and showed up on the 26th, I'd be annoyed that their lack of knowledge about the actual date caused me to miss the sale and I wouldn't shop there. Yes, I'm like that.

I realize I'm in the minority, so I guess it would be a good marketing strategy overall.




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GrinningCat
Proudly Canadian

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July 2002
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Posted: 12/9/2012 5:53:42 AM

I see your point, but it depends on who you're aiming for. If I read about a 12 days of Christmas sale and showed up on the 26th, I'd be annoyed that their lack of knowledge about the actual date caused me to miss the sale and I wouldn't shop there. Yes, I'm like that.

I realize I'm in the minority, so I guess it would be a good marketing strategy overall.
I see your point as well. Though I'd never think that a 12 day sale would start after Christmas. Business wise that doesn't make any sense as the 12 day sale is a push towards Christmas not a push after Christmas. But I do get what you're saying. I've always been very good at separated religious connotation with secular (as in I think neither the twain really should be with the exception of some minor influences).
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