We've not really celebrated epiphany before; usually, the decorations are down before new year and everything is back to normal by the time the clock strikes midnight on January 1st. This year, though, one of the things I want to do is make more of an effort to celebrate traditional holidays and seasonal events, so we're starting now!
Also known as twelfth night, epiphany is the day the Kings arrived with Jesus - historically, it was more important than Christmas Day, and during medieval and Tudor periods people would celebrate with feasts, wassailing and baking. Locals need not fear, we're not going to be roaming the streets tomorrow night crooning, but we are going to be eating plenty of epiphany cake and packing the decorations away (bye tree! *sniff*) Here are some other ideas for things you could do to celebrate first night if, like us, your singing voice isn't up to scratch:
- Bake an epiphany cake - more like a brioche-type-bread, traditionally these are ring shaped to represent a crown, and are decorated with crystallised fruits. (I couldn't find any crystallised fruits, so I'm going with candied peel and glace cherries - I'm sure it's all much the same!) I'm going to be following Nigel Slater's recipe from the Guardian, but there are plenty floating about online.
- Pack away your decorations - if you've not already done it, make an evening of it with a post-Christmas drink (I love a sherry, and I'm not ashamed to admit it!) and a slab of the epiphany cake.
- Fill the room with candles - Christmas might be over and done with, but the evenings are still cold and dark, so brighten things up by dotting beeswax candles around and basking in their golden glow.
- Cook up a feast - if you're keen on all things culinary (we all know I'm not!), organise a small dinner party for close friends or family. Adele, who writes the Circus Queen blog, told me that she bakes 'Three Kings Pie' for her family, which is filled with mushrooms, potatoes and star anise (yum!), while pastries, cake and sweets are all very much acceptable additions to the dinner table.