We just had our Twelfth Night feast. I learned SO MUCH from this one! I had no idea that the twelve days of Christmas were actually AFTER Christmas! Who knew? (Probably lots of people...) So we celebrated the Twelve Days of Christmas this year by taking a break from our regular schoolwork. We did a service jar that had everyone's name in it, and each morning we chose someone's name, and we had to do a secret act of service for that person. We also had to work on special handmade presents for everyone.
We read all about Twelfth Night from our favorite book, and learned about some super fun activities! So our feast ended up being a LOT of fun--the best one we've had, actually--and the kids have decided this should be something that becomes a tradition for us! So neat!
The feast went something like this:
Welcome to the Feast!
First course (we made a fruit salad)
Wassail the Trees (during medieval times, they would make some wassail, give everyone a mug of it, then walk out to an orchard and sing songs and stamp around a tree, take a sip of wassail, then sing and stomp again, then pour the wassail down onto the 'roots' of the tree. The point of this is to nourish the tree so it will give lots of apples for the next year [for more wassail], and the stomping and loud singing is to awaken the tree's spirit so it wont forget to come alive come spring. We don't have any apple trees, so sang around our fake Christmas tree.)
Second course (regular green salad)
Oxenhorn Dance (Basically, it's a dance competition or 'follow the leader'. The head of the party, or 'king', was the judge, and called out the best 'Oxen dancer'--lots of stamping involved--and then the best dancer took the next turn to be the judge.)
Third Course (wild rice)
Mummers play of the Twelfth Night (I printed off a copy of this short play from our 'Holidays and festivals' book and we read it together and psuedo-acted it out. Lots of laughs! The parts were the King, Prince George (the dragon slayer), a Turkish Knight, the Royal Doctor, and a Clown. Everyone standing in the reading circle is the picture at the top of this post.)
Fourth Course (lasagna and french bread)
Oranges and Lemons (This is sort of like London Bridges, where the head of team Orange and the head of team Lemon stand like 'London Bridges' and say a poem to catch the members of their team. Everyone passes through until they're caught and then they're put on teams. After everyone's on teams, it's Oranges vs Lemons in a game of tug o' war. The winner is named Spring and the loser is now named Winter. Good times.)
Fifth Course (cookies)
The Wise Men Follow the Star (We turn out all the lights. One candle is lit, and the 'king' holds it. Everyone gathers up the gifts they've made through the past 12 days, and we follow the king with the 'star' through the house in search of the Baby Jesus. We end up together as a family and talk about finding the Baby Jesus, and traveling through life and following Him, about giving gifts from the heart, then we pass out our gifts. The kids were VERY thoughtful with their gifts--it was so impressive and wonderful!)
The feast foods weren't totally 'authentic', but that's what we had on the menu that day. :) I really enjoyed this night! It's a great tradition to keep and definitely makes magnificent memories!