Tuesday, January 6, 2009

MerryMerry Twelfth Night

Let the joyous news be spread
The wicked old witch at last is dead.

Epiphany. No, not that one, this one. As all Catholics and theater folk know (thanks to Shakespeare, in the latter case), Epiphany is more than a maudlin soft rock song. In the West European tradition, January 6 is the twelfth and last night of Christmas. You know—the evening when, according to the Bible, wise men from the East (probably astrologers) were led by a star to the infant Jesus in Bethlehem, arriving twelve days after his birth to present gifts of gold (for a king), frankincense (for a priest), and myrrh (as a prescient symbol of suffering).

Historically a lot of quaint and bizarre traditions pertain to the holiday, such as placing three crosses lined with garlic and holy water on the lintel of doors to ward off god-knows-what. In our ostentatiously secular time, the more popular tradition is that you’re legally allowed at long last to rid your home of all holiday frippery.

It’s also the time when employers can legitimately remind us that they party’s over and we can hie ourselves back to work any time now. For most of us, that means hitting the ground running. The past two days have both been endless rounds of meetings and emails for me, but with some fun stuff in there, too: the Continuum reading (which went very well, thank you), a run-through of Apollo (fabulous), and an inspiring meeting of Willamette Writers.

But the biggest epiphany may be just around the corner: the maiden voyage of Portland’s Fertile Ground Festival of new work for the stage. Stay tuned for more about that.


h e r e x a c t l y said...

dear m,
my salutation to you the day after epiphany.
you know the 6th is also joan of arc's birthday. huzzah! apropos! (huzzah for the persian wise men and french for the lady)
i arrive back from my trip to worlds dark and quiet. many things shimmery, the gods bearing gifts.
a waft of sweet frankinscence in your general direction. ;)

Anonymous said...

Epiphany: From Censers to Censors.

Mead said...

Thank you, Madame X. And in response to your comment on my previous post: I am always prepared for coffee, creme de cacao, absinthe or sasparilla when it comes to you.

And CC, I think you've found the title of your next revisionist social history.