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Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! 

Goblins & Greenery

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      While writing DESIRING THE GOVERNESS, I needed to do research into Twelfth Night traditions.

     This can be a confusing holiday since some say it is on January 5th and others say January 6th. I never did get a straight answer, and I’m pretty sure that it comes down to individual traditions.

     Another confusion was when greenery is taken down. Some say it must be done by the end of Twelfth Night, while for others it is Candlemas.

     However, one thing I did learn was that some believed that if not all greenery was removed from the home, goblins would appear. Gasp!

     Reference can be found in a 17th-cntury poem by Robert Herrick, “Ceremony Upon Candlemas Eve.”

“Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and misletoe;
Down with the holly, ivy, all,
Wherewith ye dress’d the Christmas Hall:
That so the superstitious find
No one least branch there left behind:
For look, how many leaves there be
Neglected, there (maids, trust to me)
So many goblins you shall see.”

     Also, not only should all greenery be removed, but burned as well. If not, bad luck would befall those who did not.

     I’m just thankful that I don’t need to worry about goblins as all greeneries is usually gone from my house on January 2nd. (whew).

 

     However, we don’t burn since most of that greenery is artificial and will be needed next year.  Oh, I’d love to have a real tree again, but as my daughter is extremely allergic, we decorate with fake.

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La Befana – an Italian Tradition

     La Befana was a tradition that I discovered while researching for a short story that was released two years ago for a limited time - A Christmas Bauble From La Befana (retitled as Christmas Bauble).  However, La Befana doesn’t visit at Christmas, but on Epiphany Eve, or January 5th, and has been doing so since the Eighth Century. There are different versions of the fable, but this is the one I chose to use in my story. 

     La Befana was known as the best housekeeper in her village and always kept a pleasant home. One day, after seeing the bright star in the sky, the one that announced the coming birth of Jesus, the Magi approached La Befana and asked for directions to where the Son of God could be found.  She did not know but did provide the Magi shelter for the night.  On the following morning when they were to continue their journey, they asked that La Befana join them. She declined because she was too busy with her housework and couldn’t make the journey. However, she later had a change of heart and tried to find the astrologers and Jesus. Unfortunately, she was unable to locate them, and to this day, she flys across the sky on her broomstick and continues to search and visits the homes of children. If they’ve been good, she fills their stockings with toys, candy, or fruit. If they’ve been bad, she leaves coal, onions, or garlic. Often she’ll also sweep the floor before she leaves.

   

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For those who are interested in reading a Christmas Bauble, you can read it for FREE. Just click HERE for the link.

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Making cut-outs is a tradition in our family. My mother made cookies for as long as I can remember and when younger I did more tasting than baking. But, as the grandchildren started to come along, she always had one day where they came over and decorated their own plate of cookies. It was messy, but it was fun. The tradition has continued and even though Mom is gone, her grandchildren always pick one day to get together, so they can share the tradition with their kids. 

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