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RE: [liturgy-l] Calendar question (Western calendar)

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  • Lew Whitaker
    Daniel: This has always been a sticky wicket for me as well -- I always think I m computing the days wrong -- but I think you ve got the days reckoned
    Message 1 of 12 , Aug 9, 2002
      Daniel:

      This has always been a sticky wicket for me as well -- I always think I'm
      computing the days wrong -- but I think you've got the days "reckoned"
      correctly. Christians follow the old Jewish system of considering sunset to
      sunset as a "day," so the eve of a feast is, in essence, the "morning" of
      that feast....if you'll follow me. Christmas Day "starts" with first Vespers
      (at sunset on the 24th) and ends at sunset on the 25th. Therefore, "Twelfth
      Night" is the EVE of the Epiphany -- the Twelfth Night of Christmas -- not
      the night of January 6th. It was on the night of Jan 5th that Twelfth Night
      festivities were properly observed. Epiphany then is a separate feast,
      connected to Christmas, but not truly part of it. While many churches
      observe the burning of the greens on Epiphany as a sort of end to the
      Christmas cycle, it is my understanding that February 2nd, the Feast of the
      Presentation, is properly the end of the Christmas cycle, if not the
      Christmas season. February 2nd comes 40 days after Christmas, making a nice
      parallel with the 40 days of Lent that culminate in Easter (well, actually,
      in Holy Week and Easter). In fact, the Orthodox refer to the Christmas cycle
      as the "Winter Pascha."

      Pax,

      Lew

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Daniel Lawson [mailto:dlawson@...]
      Sent: Friday, August 09, 2002 11:01 AM
      To: liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [liturgy-l] Calendar question (Western calendar)


      This probably a very basic calendar question brought about by my inability
      to count properly or something else simple like that, but I'm quite puzzled.

      When one speaks of the twelve days of Christmas, when do they begin? When
      do they end? Does the feast of Epiphany fall outside the twelve days?

      In short, does the counting go like this?

      Day 1: eve of Dec 24/ day of Dec 25 (Christmas Day)
      Day 2: eve of Dec 25/ day of Dec 26 (St. Stephen)
      Day 3: eve of Dec 26/ day of Dec 27 (St. John)
      Day 4: eve of Dec 27/ day of Dec 28 (Holy Innocents)
      Day 5: eve of Dec 28/ day of Dec 29
      Day 6: eve of Dec 29/ day of Dec 30
      Day 7: eve of Dec 30/ day of Dec 31
      Day 8: eve of Dec 31/ day of Jan 1 (Holy Name)
      Day 9: eve of Jan 1/ day of Jan 2
      Day 10: eve of Jan 2/ day of Jan 3
      Day 11: eve of Jan 3/ day of Jan 4
      Day 12: eve of Jan 4/ day of Jan 5
      Then, after the twelve days comes Epiphany?

      If so, what is the connection between the term "Twelfth Night" and the
      feast of the Epiphany?

      Thanks for any light anyone can shed on this.

      Peace,
      Daniel Lawson


      --
      Daniel Lawson dlawson1@...
      Maintainer of Daily Office web site, http://www.nd.edu/~dlawson1/office.html


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    • dlewisaao@aol.com
      In a message dated 8/9/2002 11:02:16 AM Eastern Daylight Time, ... I believe that 12th Night is the Eve of the Epiphany. Have also seen another reckoning that
      Message 2 of 12 , Aug 9, 2002
        In a message dated 8/9/2002 11:02:16 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
        dlawson@... writes:


        > If so, what is the connection between the term "Twelfth Night" and the
        > feast of the Epiphany?
        >

        I believe that 12th Night is the Eve of the Epiphany. Have also seen another
        reckoning that would begin on 25 Dec and would count the Epiphany as the 12th
        Day of Christmas, but would want others to comment re this.

        David Lewis
        DLewisAAO@...


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • James O'Regan
        ... The Christian day, like the Jewish day, begins at sundown the previous evening. So, as the site that Doug attests, the first Day of Christmas begins at
        Message 3 of 12 , Aug 9, 2002
          David wrote:

          > I believe that 12th Night is the Eve of the Epiphany. Have also seen another
          > reckoning that would begin on 25 Dec and would count the Epiphany as the 12th
          > Day of Christmas, but would want others to comment re this.

          The Christian day, like the Jewish day, begins at
          sundown the previous evening. So, as the site
          that Doug attests, the first Day of Christmas
          begins at sundown Christmas eve and the 12th at
          sundown on Epiphany eve, whence starts the
          next season with no overlap.


          James O'Regan
          http://www.jamesoregan.com
          tel 613-824-4706
        • Ormonde Plater
          In south Louisiana, Twelfth Night is considered to fall on the feast of the Epiphany, and the Twelfth Night Ball in New Orleans is held on the night of Jan. 6.
          Message 4 of 12 , Aug 9, 2002
            In south Louisiana, Twelfth Night is considered to fall on the feast of the
            Epiphany, and the Twelfth Night Ball in New Orleans is held on the night of
            Jan. 6. There may be an old French custom that counts the twelve days as
            starting after Christmas Day.

            Ormonde Plater
            oplater@...
          • Daniel Lawson
            ... If the first night is the night of our Savior s birth (the night that begins at sundown on December 24 and continues until dawn on December 25) then it
            Message 5 of 12 , Aug 9, 2002
              At 11:26 AM 8/9/2002 -0400, Lew Whitaker wrote:

              >Daniel:
              >
              >This has always been a sticky wicket for me as well -- I always think I'm
              >computing the days wrong -- but I think you've got the days "reckoned"
              >correctly. Christians follow the old Jewish system of considering sunset to
              >sunset as a "day," so the eve of a feast is, in essence, the "morning" of
              >that feast....if you'll follow me. Christmas Day "starts" with first Vespers
              >(at sunset on the 24th) and ends at sunset on the 25th. Therefore, "Twelfth
              >Night" is the EVE of the Epiphany -- the Twelfth Night of Christmas -- not
              >the night of January 6th. It was on the night of Jan 5th that Twelfth Night
              >festivities were properly observed. Epiphany then is a separate feast,
              >connected to Christmas, but not truly part of it.


              If the first night is the night of our Savior's birth (the night that
              begins at sundown on December 24 and continues until dawn on December 25)
              then it seems that twelfth night would not begin at sundown on the fifth,
              but rather at sundown on the fourth.

              That would remove a connection between 12th night and Epiphany,
              however. Do the nights/days count the nights and days after the incarnation?

              1st Night: sunset 12/24 - dawn 12/25
              2nd Night: sunset 12/25 - dawn 12/26
              3rd Night: sunset 12/26 - dawn 12/27
              4th Night: sunset 12/27 - dawn 12/28
              5th Night: sunset 12/28 - dawn 12/29
              6th Night: sunset 12/29 - dawn 12/30
              7th Night: sunset 12/30 - dawn 12/31
              8th Night: sunset 12/31 - dawn 1/ 1
              9th Night: sunset 1/ 1 - dawn 1/ 2
              10th Night: sunset 1/ 2 - dawn 1/ 3
              11th Night: sunset 1/ 3 - dawn 1/ 4
              12th Night: sunset 1/ 4 - dawn 1/ 5

              vs.

              1st Night: sunset 12/25 - dawn 12/26
              2nd Night: sunset 12/26 - dawn 12/27
              3rd Night: sunset 12/27 - dawn 12/28
              4th Night: sunset 12/28 - dawn 12/29
              5th Night: sunset 12/29 - dawn 12/30
              6th Night: sunset 12/30 - dawn 12/31
              7th Night: sunset 12/31 - dawn 1/ 1
              8th Night: sunset 1/ 1 - dawn 1/ 2
              9th Night: sunset 1/ 2 - dawn 1/ 3
              10th Night: sunset 1/ 3 - dawn 1/ 4
              11th Night: sunset 1/ 4 - dawn 1/ 5
              12th Night: sunset 1/ 5 - dawn 1/ 6

              Peace,
              Daniel Lawson
            • fcsenn@aol.com
              In a message dated 8/9/2002 10:02:17 AM Central Standard Time, ... It is confusing, but here s the situation. Christmas Night is not the same as Christmas
              Message 6 of 12 , Aug 9, 2002
                In a message dated 8/9/2002 10:02:17 AM Central Standard Time,
                dlawson@... writes:


                >
                > This probably a very basic calendar question brought about by my inability
                > to count properly or something else simple like that, but I'm quite
                > puzzled.
                >
                > When one speaks of the twelve days of Christmas, when do they begin? When
                > do they end? Does the feast of Epiphany fall outside the twelve days?
                >

                It is confusing, but here's the situation. Christmas Night is not the same
                as Christmas Eve. So the First Night of Christmas is December 25. Twelfth
                Night is January 5 (Epiphany Eve). The Feast of the Epiphany was thought to
                begin another liturgical season, not wrap up Christmas. The medievals had
                their own way of looking at things. In fact, to this day in parts of Europe
                Christmas decorations come down before the Epiphany Mass is celebrated.
                Well, as Aidan Kavangh used to say, "real liturgy is messy."

                FCSenn


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Daniel Lawson
                Thank you all for your helpful responses!
                Message 7 of 12 , Aug 9, 2002
                  Thank you all for your helpful responses!

                  At 07:23 PM 8/9/2002 -0400, fcsenn@... wrote:
                  >In a message dated 8/9/2002 10:02:17 AM Central Standard Time,
                  >dlawson@... writes:
                  >
                  >
                  > >
                  > > This probably a very basic calendar question brought about by my inability
                  > > to count properly or something else simple like that, but I'm quite
                  > > puzzled.
                  > >
                  > > When one speaks of the twelve days of Christmas, when do they begin? When
                  > > do they end? Does the feast of Epiphany fall outside the twelve days?
                  > >
                  >
                  >It is confusing, but here's the situation. Christmas Night is not the same
                  >as Christmas Eve. So the First Night of Christmas is December 25. Twelfth
                  >Night is January 5 (Epiphany Eve). The Feast of the Epiphany was thought to
                  >begin another liturgical season, not wrap up Christmas. The medievals had
                  >their own way of looking at things. In fact, to this day in parts of Europe
                  >Christmas decorations come down before the Epiphany Mass is celebrated.
                  >Well, as Aidan Kavangh used to say, "real liturgy is messy."
                  >
                  >FCSenn
                  >
                  >
                  >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
                  >Visit the liturgy-l homepage at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/liturgy-l/
                  >
                  >To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                  >liturgy-l-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                  >
                  >To write to the owners/moderators, please send an email to:
                  >liturgy-l-owner@yahoogroups.com
                  >
                  >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                • asteresplanetai
                  Blessed is our God. On this question, yes, Ephiphany (Theophany) is a separate feast, originally developed in the East, as I recall, by some count backwards
                  Message 8 of 12 , Aug 10, 2002
                    Blessed is our God.

                    On this question, yes, Ephiphany (Theophany) is a separate feast,
                    originally developed in the East, as I recall, by some count backwards
                    from Quartodecimian Pascha, yes?-- I can't remember exactly how but
                    seem to think it had to do with counting 9 months from that Pascha,
                    which originally was both a feast of the incarnation/conception (now
                    our March 25) as well as of the Resurrection. Then later, after March
                    25 developed as the feast of the Conception/Incarnation and was
                    imported to Rome, Christmas evolved in Rome, and finally was imported
                    back into the East. In the midst of all this, Epiphany/Theophany still
                    retained the character of the "manifestation" of God in the flesh, but
                    in the West, it was ultimately assigned to the 3 kings, and in the
                    East, to the baptism. I think this is right, yes Frank?

                    So it might be helpful in considering whether Ephiphany is part of
                    Christmas to recall that in the East it has nothing (now) to do with
                    Christ's birth at all, but is the feast of his baptism in the Jordan,
                    and that in the West it rather fills the same function-- though of
                    course the 3 kings are part of the infancy narrative, and how much you
                    want to distinguish them is sort of moot, since all these feasts
                    developed originally out of the one Feast of the
                    Incarnation/Birth/Manifestation/Resurrection of the Son of God, which
                    is Pascha.

                    But in the East also, the feasting that takes place after Christmas--
                    i.e., during the 11 days from and including Dec 25 through Jan 4,
                    there is no fasting, even on Wednesdays and Fridays-- this comes to an
                    end on the evening of the 4th, the beginning of the Eve of Theophany
                    (the "eve" is all day, not just the night of the 5th), on which there
                    is a strict fast in preparation for the Theophany. How the 12 days,
                    much less nights, are counted in popular lore may be another matter
                    entirely, of course. But the Church distinguishes these feasts,
                    actually rather sharply, with the fast day. I am wondering what the
                    fasting practice used to be after Christmas and before Epiphany in the West?

                    One correspondent wrote that the 40 days from Christmas to Feb 2 are a
                    parallel to Lent. That's not true, since Lent is a period of
                    preparation and fasting, and these are days of rejoicing. Originally
                    the count is derived from the 40 days of rejoicing between the birth
                    of a child and its churching / its mother's purification-- hence Feb 2
                    is what you in the West call the Purification (of the Virgin) or the
                    Presentation (in the Temple), and we call the Meeting of the Lord (by
                    Symeon & Anna in the Temple). And the Christmas cycle does not
                    technically quite come to an end even with Feb 2, since the
                    Purification/Meeting has an octave. The Winter Pascha is thus not
                    quite over until the Leavetaking (or "Giving Back", "Apodosis") of the
                    Feast of the Meeting.

                    [I like the idea that we "give back" a feast when it's over, by the
                    way. Like, we check it out from eternity and return it when we're
                    done, and it's kept there until we need it again next year. But it has
                    an eternal essence.]

                    So in other words, there are some 50 days' celebration after
                    Christmas, just as there are after Pascha, and the 40 (ok 48) days
                    after Christmas parallel in some way not Lent but the time from Easter
                    to Ascension/Pentecost. But of course the parallel is somewhat loose--
                    the Purification is not such a big deal as Ascension/Pentecost, and by
                    that point we're getting into what you call Septuagesima etc, anyway--
                    the preliminaries and penitential warm ups for Lent and Pascha itself.

                    Now, I have another question, besides the one about the fasting
                    practices between Christmas and Epiphany. Did Ephiphany in the West
                    always have a connection with the 3 kings, or is that a more recent overlay?

                    Regards,

                    John Burnett
                  • Thomas R. Jackson
                    ... Its an interesting question. I will be interested in the answers. It is of note that in the Roman Liturgy, Epiphany is really only partially about the
                    Message 9 of 12 , Aug 10, 2002
                      > Did Ephiphany in the West
                      >always have a connection with the 3 kings, or is that a more recent overlay?

                      Its an interesting question. I will be interested in the answers.

                      It is of note that in the Roman Liturgy, Epiphany is really only partially
                      about the Three Kings. We see this in the Gospel antiphon for the Vesperal
                      celebration, Tribus miraculis:

                      "Three mysteries mark this holy day: today the star leads the Magi to the
                      infant Christ; today water is changed into wine for the wedding
                      feast; today Christ wills to be baptized by John in the river Jordan
                      to bring us salvation"

                      Which is pretty explicit. I do not know how old this antiphon is, but the
                      CANTUS database (a great resource but fragmentary) lists it in manuscripts
                      dating to the twelfth century. Perhaps it is found in other ealier sources
                      not indexed by CANTUS. I have a suspicion that it is older and that it may
                      well have had Eastern origins. I base this latter speculation only on the
                      style of the text, which is pretty un-Roman and more didactic, more
                      reminiscent of Eastern borrowings.

                      Despite this explicit exposition of the celebration, it is hard to find
                      evidence of the trifold nature of Epiphany in ordinary Roman liturgical
                      practice. In popular minds it is all about the Kings, and my experience is
                      that parish liturgies play this up. On an official level, references to
                      the other two events are rather muted, especially in the reformed
                      books. further, the Baptism has now been teased out into its own explicit
                      celebration the Sunday after Epiphany. So, what was originally the Feast
                      of the Manifestation of Christ, is now overshadowed by a festival of the
                      Kings. I have heard some homilists try to recover the theme of
                      manifestation by recasting the celebration as being about Christ's
                      manifestation to the gentiles.

                      Any way, one piece of the puzzle, for what it is worth.

                      thomas.
                    • M. Thannisch
                      The Western tradition for fasting is the same as for Easter. No fasting during the 12 days of Christmas. To my knowledge, Epiphany in the West has always
                      Message 10 of 12 , Aug 10, 2002
                        The Western tradition for fasting is the same as for Easter. No fasting
                        during the 12 days of Christmas. To my knowledge, Epiphany in the West has
                        always been associated with the Wise men. Traditionally as I recall it is
                        also associated with Jesus' Baptism and his first miracle of converting
                        water to wine.


                        Shalom in Yeshua ha Moshiach

                        Michael Joe Thannisch
                        mjthan@...

                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: "asteresplanetai" <asteresplanetai@...>
                        To: <liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com>
                        Sent: Saturday, August 10, 2002 1:31 PM
                        Subject: Re: [liturgy-l] Calendar question (Western calendar)


                        > Blessed is our God.
                        >
                        > On this question, yes, Ephiphany (Theophany) is a separate feast,
                        > originally developed in the East, as I recall, by some count backwards
                        > from Quartodecimian Pascha, yes?-- I can't remember exactly how but
                        > seem to think it had to do with counting 9 months from that Pascha,
                        > which originally was both a feast of the incarnation/conception (now
                        > our March 25) as well as of the Resurrection. Then later, after March
                        > 25 developed as the feast of the Conception/Incarnation and was
                        > imported to Rome, Christmas evolved in Rome, and finally was imported
                        > back into the East. In the midst of all this, Epiphany/Theophany still
                        > retained the character of the "manifestation" of God in the flesh, but
                        > in the West, it was ultimately assigned to the 3 kings, and in the
                        > East, to the baptism. I think this is right, yes Frank?
                        >
                        > So it might be helpful in considering whether Ephiphany is part of
                        > Christmas to recall that in the East it has nothing (now) to do with
                        > Christ's birth at all, but is the feast of his baptism in the Jordan,
                        > and that in the West it rather fills the same function-- though of
                        > course the 3 kings are part of the infancy narrative, and how much you
                        > want to distinguish them is sort of moot, since all these feasts
                        > developed originally out of the one Feast of the
                        > Incarnation/Birth/Manifestation/Resurrection of the Son of God, which
                        > is Pascha.
                        >
                        > But in the East also, the feasting that takes place after Christmas--
                        > i.e., during the 11 days from and including Dec 25 through Jan 4,
                        > there is no fasting, even on Wednesdays and Fridays-- this comes to an
                        > end on the evening of the 4th, the beginning of the Eve of Theophany
                        > (the "eve" is all day, not just the night of the 5th), on which there
                        > is a strict fast in preparation for the Theophany. How the 12 days,
                        > much less nights, are counted in popular lore may be another matter
                        > entirely, of course. But the Church distinguishes these feasts,
                        > actually rather sharply, with the fast day. I am wondering what the
                        > fasting practice used to be after Christmas and before Epiphany in the
                        West?
                        >
                        > One correspondent wrote that the 40 days from Christmas to Feb 2 are a
                        > parallel to Lent. That's not true, since Lent is a period of
                        > preparation and fasting, and these are days of rejoicing. Originally
                        > the count is derived from the 40 days of rejoicing between the birth
                        > of a child and its churching / its mother's purification-- hence Feb 2
                        > is what you in the West call the Purification (of the Virgin) or the
                        > Presentation (in the Temple), and we call the Meeting of the Lord (by
                        > Symeon & Anna in the Temple). And the Christmas cycle does not
                        > technically quite come to an end even with Feb 2, since the
                        > Purification/Meeting has an octave. The Winter Pascha is thus not
                        > quite over until the Leavetaking (or "Giving Back", "Apodosis") of the
                        > Feast of the Meeting.
                        >
                        > [I like the idea that we "give back" a feast when it's over, by the
                        > way. Like, we check it out from eternity and return it when we're
                        > done, and it's kept there until we need it again next year. But it has
                        > an eternal essence.]
                        >
                        > So in other words, there are some 50 days' celebration after
                        > Christmas, just as there are after Pascha, and the 40 (ok 48) days
                        > after Christmas parallel in some way not Lent but the time from Easter
                        > to Ascension/Pentecost. But of course the parallel is somewhat loose--
                        > the Purification is not such a big deal as Ascension/Pentecost, and by
                        > that point we're getting into what you call Septuagesima etc, anyway--
                        > the preliminaries and penitential warm ups for Lent and Pascha itself.
                        >
                        > Now, I have another question, besides the one about the fasting
                        > practices between Christmas and Epiphany. Did Ephiphany in the West
                        > always have a connection with the 3 kings, or is that a more recent
                        overlay?
                        >
                        > Regards,
                        >
                        > John Burnett
                        >
                        > Visit the liturgy-l homepage at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/liturgy-l/
                        >
                        > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                        > liturgy-l-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                        >
                        > To write to the owners/moderators, please send an email to:
                        > liturgy-l-owner@yahoogroups.com
                        >
                        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
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