TICONDEROGA - The holiday season will formally end with the 16th annual Twelfth Night Celebration presented by the Ticonderoga Festival Guild.
The 2010 event will be held Wednesday, Jan. 6, at 7 p.m. at St. Mary's Church in Ticonderoga.
Area choirs will present their favorite Christmas music and the program will include carol singing.
Refreshments will be served after the program, which is free to the community, although donations are accepted to help fund the guild's summer children's programs.
The winners of the guild's end-of-the-year fund raiser will be announced during the program.
The Ticonderoga Festival Guild, Inc., was established in 1980 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the performing arts in the Ticonderoga area.
The mission of the Ticonderoga Festival Guild is to promote, develop, sustain, present, and advance a diverse program of performing arts in the Ticonderoga area.
The "Twelfth Night" tradition dates to the Middle Ages.
In early times, Christmas was 12 days of celebration, starting on Dec. 25 and culminating on the 12th night, which was considered "Christmas Day."
Hence, the song "Twelve Days of Christmas" and the play "Twelfth Night" by William Shakespeare.
In 529, Roman Emperor Justinian named Christmas to be a civic holiday. Work and public business not associated with the celebration of the holiday was strictly forbidden. In 563, a decree from the Council of Braga declared that fasting on Christmas was prohibited and in 567 the Council of Tours elected the 12 days from Dec. 25 to Epiphany to be sacred.
As a result, in the Middle Ages Christmas was not one day to take off work and spend with family, but 12 days of celebration. In older times, the "Twelfth Night" brought great festivities.
In some areas of the world, it is still proper to erect a Christmas tree on Christmas Eve and leave it up until a week after New Year for this reason.