The Party Isn't Over
If you are still in the holiday mood, here are some ways to extend the celebration.
If you're feeling a little post-holiday let down, don't fear! They aren't over. Jan. 6th is the feast of the Epiphany, and some cultures even celebrate Christmas until Feb. 2nd. Try telling that one to your HOA as an excuse not to take down the lights and decorations.
The time we now spend madly shopping and reveling in lights and candies was once "advent," a season of darkness and anticipation. Winter solstice, which marks the shortest day of the year, was on Dec. 22nd. The Christian calendar interprets this as the darkness of the world before the appearance of the light of Christ, the time of advent or anticipation.
Christmas, then, is the celebration of the lengthening of days, the coming of the sun and the coming of Christ. The celebration went on for 12 days after Dec. 25th until the feast of Epiphany. The feast celebrates when "Magi" from the east followed a star to Bethlehem and presented kingly gifts to the Christ child there.
Epiphany means the appearance of something unexpected, in this case a baby who is the God-king coming as a man to earth. Many local churches, such as the historic Church of the Ascension, are planning to celebrate this feast.
Here are some fun takes on traditional ways of celebrating Epiphany:
- Exchange trinkets with your friends like coins or little handwritten notes folded up.
- Wear party masks at dinner on Wednesday night.
- With a group of friends, write down someone's name on a piece of paper, turn it over and pass it to your right. Put the paper you receive on your forehead and take turns asking questions to guess your identity.
- Bake a king's cake with a bean or a toy inside. Whoever gets the piece with the prize gets to be "king for the day" the next day.
- Make stars by cutting out a star shape from a paper bag. Decorate them with pasta or glitter. Hide the stars when they are dry and have your child try to find them.
- Draw a star on white paper with a white crayon then paint over it with watercolor. The picture will then be revealed!
- Change up the Christmas colors of green and red for a bright Epiphany purple. Since cabbage is in season try a hearty purple cabbage stew.