January 5 is twelve days after Christmas, thus ending the twelve days of Christmas and the eve of the coming of the Wise Men, also known as Epiphany. This, at least, is the story preserved in Christendom. According to Matthew 2, however, Jesus could have been as old as two before the Wise Men visited. As with Christmas, although we don’t know when the Wise Men came, we know they did come and have set aside a day to celebrate it.
In medieval England, Christmastide was celebrated all the way from Halloween to Twelfth Night, much like the Season in Washington, D.C. The celebration has also been made famous by the Shakespearean play by the same name. As is customary for the Bard, it is full of separated twins, girls dressed as boys, and vice versa, and of course everyone falling in love with everyone else in a bizarre love triangle.
Scene from Twelfth Night is a painting by Francis Wheatley completed c. 1771 and has U.S. Public Domain Tag PD-1923, published anywhere before 1923 and public domain in the U.S.
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