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Main Street Museum Revives Twelfth Night Celebration in White River Junction

Jan 18, 2016 06:01PM ● By Gabrielle Varela

According to Christian tradition, on the twelfth night after Christmas, the three wise men visited the Christ child. This is known as the Feast of the Epiphany as well as Three Kings’ Day. It represents the last of the holiday celebrations. For many, this is the day to take down the holiday lights, pack away the decorations for another year, and split the Christmas tree for firewood.

For the less zealous, the Twelfth Night celebration predates Christianity, stemming from the Celtic Yule feasts (hence, Yule log). This tradition spread across Europe and became culturally recognized, most notably in Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night, as a day to tie up loose ends and a time for new beginnings.

The Twelfth Night celebration includes the burning of the Yule log. The Christmas tree is cut into sections and each person receives one to throw into the blazing fire. In this way, it’s a ritual of letting go—sections represent celebrants’ feelings about the year that has past or events from the previous year that should be left behind. The rest of the tree is cut into logs for the fire.

On January 8th, White River Junction’s Main Street Museum held its own Christmas Tree Burning celebration, calling people together to set their trees ablaze with a new-age Creole twist.

The Main Street Museum, a small public collection of artifacts and curiosities, revived this public celebration, giving a nod to its European roots in typical edgy Main Street Museum fashion.

There was music by Langdon, New Hampshire’s own homegrown Bayou band, Lil’ Orphans, and gumbo to boot. As attendees gathered around the riverside fire to light up the trees and the New Year, stories and memories were shared and new friendships forged as the last of the branches spat sparkling embers into the night.

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