It’s still Christmas

The Pittston City refuse and recycling calendar indicates curbside Christmas tree pickup began Jan. 4. That’s excellent service, but I can’t help thinking Christmas sure ends early for some people.
Not in my house.
We always kept our tree and decorations up until “Little Christmas” on January 6, and I still adhere to that tradition. When I was younger I did not know why, but I figured any excuse to extend the holiday was fine with me.
It was not until I got into the newspaper business and was assigned a story on “Russian Christmas” that I looked more deeply into it. For starters, I learned that there is a Little Christmas and a Russian Christmas and they are not the same.
Christmas in Russia, and for many Americans of Russian descent, is celebrated on January 7 because of the Julian calendar which is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar.
Little Christmas is a different story. It is celebrated in various countries and observed by many in America on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany. That is the day the Magi, or Three Wise Men, are said to have visited the baby Jesus bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Because of this, in many cultures where Christmas is celebrated on December 25, gifts are not exchanged until January 6.
Not that I want to plant the song in anyone’s head, but the Twelve Days of Christmas traditionally begin on December 25 and end on January 5, the eve of the Epiphany.
While we keep our tree up, we don’t do 12 days of gift-giving. After all, where do you shop for a partridge in a pear tree.

Ed Ackerman