Unlike those who start "celebrating" Christmas on November 1st by stringing up all those lights around town, our Christmas begins on the Vigil of December 25th. And the party keeps on going. We get to celebrate into February if we wish with our trees, lights and nativity. I'm sure the neighbors wonder why but who cares, we wonder why they start so early so I guess it balances out.
Check out this wonderful explanation, I couldn't have said it any better myself so I am going to quote her. It is probably the least complicated explanation I have ever read and THAT is exactly why I love it!! Simple is best! She says its complicated but I dare to disagree and am grateful that I found her post. Read what Lacy has to say:
"It’s a little complicated, but here we go: The Christmas Season begins on the first Christmas Vigil Mass, usually the evening of Christmas Eve. The Roman Catholic church returns to green vestments (Ordinary time) the day after the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. This feast day moves, but it’s never before the Epiphany. However, many churches and families celebrate until the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Feb 2. The Vatican leaves up their tree and nativity until then. From December 25- February 2 is 40 days.
Liturgically, we celebrate an octave of Christmas, which is 8 days. (Just FYI- we also celebrate an octave of Easter starting on Easter Sunday). The church treats each of these 8 days as Christmas day. During these days, we feast the whole time! This means we’re exempt from abstaining from meat on Fridays and the such. The octave of Christmas ends on January 1, which is a holy day of obligation (the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.)
The Epiphany (when the kings show up to see Baby Jesus) is traditionally celebrated on January 6, but it gets moved to the closest Sunday in the United States. There are 12 days from December 25- January 5 that lead up to the traditional Epiphany. These days are referred to as the “12 days of Christmas”, but because the Epiphany moves around, there are rarely exactly 12 days.
Here is a Liturgical Christmas terms cheat sheet I put together for you:
Christmastide- fancy way of saying “Christmas Season”
Epiphany- day the kings show up to see Baby Jesus. Traditionally January 6, but is usually moved to the closest Sunday.
12th night- night before the Epiphany.
12 Days of Christmas- December 25- January 5
Presentation of the Lord- Feb 2.
Candlemas- another way to refer to February 2, the Presentation.
Octave of Christmas- the 8 days of Christmas that we feast, starting on Christmas day."
Personally we usually keep all of our decorations up until the Epiphany. We then celebrate the Feast Day of our Lord's Presentation with the children by reading the Bible and doing some sort of craft/coloring page to hang up. They get a kick out of it and it gives them a hands on experience, which I hope will give them ideas to pass on to their families some day.
So how about a recipe? I like to call this Super Simple Slaw. The flavors are so fresh and simple and that is what makes it special...not to mention you can eat all you want, unlike fatty coleslaw. Yum!
Super Simple Slaw
Merry Christmas and happy Christmas Season!!
+JMJ+ Today I am grateful to pass on the Faith to our beautiful children. It's the most important job I have.