26 December 2020 – Twelvetide

I’m going back to my 6 December folklore, when I made the basic error of believing the text I was looking at meant the 6th and the 20th of December, rather than the 26th. It’s the beginning of Twelvetide. Although this is disputed. 12th Night is reported to be on either the 5th or 6th of January (as well as plenty of other times thanks to the calendar change), so 12th Night depends on whether you count Christmas Day as the first day of Christmas, or today, Boxing Day/St Stephen’s Day/Wren Day, and whether you believe 12th Night to be Epiphany Eve or Epiphany. Me, I’m a 6 January person, so the first day of Christmas is today, and therefore it’s the beginning of Twelvetide. And the beginning of the end of The Everyday Lore Project.

Twelvetide is one of those divination times, with each day representing a coming month of the next year. So today is January, tomorrow is February and so on. For example, last year I experimented with five different Twelvetide divinations, with me recording the following predictions for this current December:

Weather: Blue skies, grey skies, rain, cold fresh – I’d say that’s held up okay.

Tarot: Ace of Wands (inspiration, creativity, new beginnings) – not sure about this one.

How I felt out of 10: 8 – pretty okay – not sure about this one either.

Bibliomancy: ‘Three weeks later, as all the world knows, we went to war’ – shelf 3, book 12, page 112, line 16 (only went up to 10 so 1+6=7). 112 is the last page – The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan – I don’t even want to think about this one, although by week three in January, 2020 was starting to shape up.

Dream: Working in an office in the evening, long room, I got one of the chairs wet and moved to another one. Went downstairs to the kebab shop in a white bath robe and fancy hair to get a recording device but forgot my £1 deposit. In a car driving along the coast with the sea on my left, lots of little shacks in the water, smell of cow dung, that’s where they all feed now. Bright sunny day. – Hmm. 

So back to my sixe and twentieth day of December weatherlore prediction. Judging by what I’ve observed today, January looks to be damp, cold and grey, with a hint of sunshine. Nice.

It’s also said you should eat a mince pie for good luck every day of Twelvetide. However, after the excesses of the past two days, I think I’ll give that one miss. That, and coaxing a partridge into a pear tree.


Resources

Buchan, J. (2016) The Thirty-Nine Steps, Edinburgh, Polygon

Chambers, R. (ed) (2004) The Book of Days, A Miscellany of POPULAR ANTIQUITIES in connection with THE CALENDAR including, ANECDOTE, BIOGRAPHY, & HISTORY CURIOSITIES of LITERATURE and ODDITIES of HUMAN LIFE and CHARACTER,  Edinburgh, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd

Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Kightly, C. (1994) The Perpetual Almanack of Folklore, London, Thames and Hudson Ltd.

Markham, G. (1635) The English Husbandman, London, Henry Taunton

Roud, S. (2006) The English Year: A Month-By-Month Guide To The Nation’s Customs and Festivals, From May Day to Mischief Night, London, Penguin Books

https://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Twelvetide

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