The 12 Days of Christmas and Their Importance to Mardi Gras
Did you know that the 12 Days of Christmas actually happen after Christmas? And what in the world does Christmas have to do with Mardi Gras? Buckle your seatbelt, because it's one heck of a story.
Epiphany is a Christian holiday celebrated annually on January 6th, but what is it all about, and what does it have to do with the 12 Days of Christmas and Mardi Gras?
Contrary to what many think, the 12 Days of Christmas come after Christmas, not before, and lead up to January 6th, which is a holiday called the Feast of the Epiphany.
According to Metro, Epiphany marks the official end of Christmas and the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. Metro also says that 'while the Catholic Church marks the Epiphany for one day, many protestants mark ‘the season of the Epiphany’ from January 6 up until Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.'
A celebration called 12th Night is also linked to Epiphany. So what is 12th Night? Metro says:
In the olden days Christmas wasn’t just a one-day event – it was actually celebrated for 12 days. This began on Christmas Eve, December 24, and was celebrated every day up until the Epiphany. The 12 days begin on Christmas Day. That means that January 5th was celebrated just as much as Christmas Day itself. This was the tradition from the medieval period up until the 19th century. Nowadays the Twelfth Night is when we are meant to put away our Christmas decorations to avoid bad luck for the year ahead.
So if you've ever wondered whether Mardi Gras had anything to do with Christianity, there's your answer. While 12th Night is the traditional kick-off to Mardi Gras and is celebrated on January 6th, we'll be celebrating 12th Night on Saturday, January 7th, 2023, mainly out of convenience. If you'd like to celebrate, the public is more than welcome to join in the 12th Night party, hosted by the krewes of Gemini and Centaur, Saturday, January 7th at Phoenix 2.0 in downtown Shreveport. Tickets are $65 in advance and $75 at the door and include a bottomless drink cup and music by The Wonderfuls.