7th Day of Christmas, December 31st

The Seventh Day of Christmas – December 31st

Although the end of the year falls in the middle of Christmastide, it has no particular relationship to the Feast.  In fact, January 1st has not always been observed in Christian countries as the first day of the new year.

In ancient Rome, the year began on March 1st.  Later, in many countries of Europe, the year began on March 25th, the Feast of the Annunciation.  The change to January 1st was gradual.  Scotland changed in 1600, and England changed when the Gregorian calendar was adopted there in 1752.

While the beginning of the secular year has no direct connection to Christmas, it is, traditionally, a time of celebration and hospitality, themes which are familiar and entirely appropriate to the Twelve Days.

The traditional English drink for this season was Wassail (from the Saxon Was haile, meaning “to your health”).  When your friends and family come “wassailing,” whether on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, have a bowl of this traditional punch ready for them, to drink to their health and yours.

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