When should I take my Christmas tree and decorations apart?

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For those of us preparing to return to work, Christmas is more like a distant memory with each passing hour. A good start to the New Year is always a good thing, but confusion over exactly when to take down the Christmas tree and the decorations continues to reign.

In order to avoid any further bad luck, we’re figuring out when it’s time to put the garlands away for another year – and it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Here’s all you need to know.

When should I take my Christmas tree and decorations apart?

It’s time to put away your festive cravings for another year

(iStock)

In the UK, tradition has it that Christmas decorations remain until Twelfth Night.

The Twelfth Night is a Christian holiday marking the beginning of the Epiphany.

A count of exactly 12 days from December 25 brings us to January 5. According to the Church of England, this day is the Twelfth Night.

However, Epiphany Day falls the next day – January 6.

However, other Christian groups may count the 12 days of Christmas from Boxing Day, making January 6 to January 12.

Countries like Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic all consider Twelfth Night to fall on this day, for example.

What is Epiphany?

Sculptures of the Three Wise Men in Angra dos Reis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

(iStock)

Epiphany is a time when Christians remember the wise men (or wise men) who would have visited Jesus after his birth.

It is also a time for Christians to remember the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist when he was a man.

The word “epiphany” means revelation and the two incidents above relate to important times in Jesus’ life.

What is the history and significance of Epiphany?

Until the 19th century, Epiphany was more important than Christmas Day, with celebrations marking the arrival of the Three Kings in the Bible.

Christians believe the twelve days represent the time it took for the Magi to get to Bethlehem and recognize Jesus as the Son of God.

As recently as the 1950s, Christians marked the twelfth night by sailing.

Like the Christmas carol, it involved going door-to-door to wish neighbors good health and happiness for the coming year.

The six Sundays following Epiphany are known as the time of manifestation, and the last Sunday of Epiphany is celebrated as Transfiguration Sunday.

Christian holiday celebrations vary around the world, which is a public holiday for many.

The event is particularly popular in the Spanish speaking world where gifts are often exchanged.

In Mexico, crowds gather to taste the king’s bread on Dia de los Reyes (Feast of the Three Kings).

And in Prague and Venice, a traditional Three Kings swim takes place in freezing waters.

So what is the right date?

Both are correct, but Wednesday January 5th is the date most Brits tend to comply with.

Why is it considered bad luck to keep the decorations after Twelfth Night?

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In ancient times, people believed that tree spirits lived in the decorations that people used to adorn their homes, such as holly and ivy.

Failure to “free” spirits before Christmas was over was believed to lead to crop failures and food problems.

While many people’s trees are actually plastic these days, some people choose to hang on to these old superstitions.

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