Skeletons in the Attic and Babes in the Wood: Surprising and Spooky Yuletide Traditions

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Skeletons in the Attic and Babes in the Wood: Surprising and Spooky Yuletide Traditions

Skeletons in the Attic and Babes in the Wood: Surprising and Spooky Yuletide Traditions

Although we nowadays associate ‘Happy Holidays’ with celebrations during Advent and the run-up to Christmas Day and then on to New Year’s Eve (or Hogmanay in Scotland) not that many years ago the ‘Festive Season’ extended beyond the end of December until at least Twelfth Night (5th January), while in the 19th century it was the convention to display Christmas decorations until Candlemas (2nd February, coincidentally Groundhog Day in the United States).

When I was a child growing up in the North of England in the 1950’s, Twelfth Night was an occasion for a large gathering of friends and family at which guests would entertain the party by performing songs, giving recitals, and telling ghost stories—the spookier the better.

Twelfth-night (The King Drinks) circa 1634.

Twelfth-night (The King Drinks) circa 1634. (Public Domain)


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