Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Christ-Mass: Twelfth Night

When I was growing up back in Ohio, the village of Milford had their own way of disposing of old Christmas trees. They would be collected and taken to some field at the edge of town, stacked in a big pile, and "Twelfth Night" would be celebrated with the lighting of a bonfire dubbed the "yule log." This is remarkable when you consider that Milford is a town first settled by (and more than two centuries later, is still more or less dominated by) Methodists and not "Catlickers." Of course, Mom and Dad didn't go for that sort of ribaldry, so I never actually saw it happen, but I would always read about it that week in the local rag known as The Milford Advertiser.

These days, I imagine people would have a hard time penciling it in between trips to soccer practice and PTA meetings. In fact, since leaving the Buckeye State to seek my fortune elsewhere, I have learned that the town has yielded to other priorities, courtesy of the county's Office of Environmental Quality:

“Many recycled trees are sent through a wood chipper and are used as mulch.”

They have got to be kidding. That kills the holiday magic right there. Then again, why celebrate the glory of the season, when you can spend the rest of the year spreading it on your lawn and walking all over it?

Meanwhile, here at Chez Alexandre, we have celebrated Epiphany on the traditional day all along. Tomorrow the lights that have been on continuously for thirteen days straight (that is, from the day before Christmas until its twelfth day) are shut off and taken down. They are put back in storage along with the decorations, waiting for the season to return. Last of all, the dying tree is sent to its final resting place.

Joy, health, love and peace
Be all here in this place
By your leave we will sing
Concerning our King.

Our King is well dressed
In silks of the best
In ribbons so rare
No King can compare.

We have traveled many miles
Over hedges and stiles
In search of our King
Unto you we bring.

We have powder and shot
To conquer the lot
We have cannon and ball
To conquer them all.

Old Christmas
    is past
Twelvetide
    is the last

And we bid
    you adieu
Great joy
    to the new.


(H/T to Steeleye Span.)
 

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