Leave your Christmas tree up… until February!

Leave your Christmas tree up… until February! Families follow medieval tradition and ‘bring cheer to winter’ by keeping decorations up for 40 days – so when does YOUR tree come down?

  • Families are being urged to keep up their Christmas decorations until February 
  • English Heritage says they can remain in place until Candlemas on the 2nd 
  • Gyles Brandreth is among Britons taking advantage of the advice 

The past year has been nothing short of tough for millions of families across the country, with the worst economic crisis since 2008, the death of the beloved Queen and the toppling of two Prime Ministers all making 2022 truly an ‘annus horribilis’.

So it’s no wonder people are tempted to leave their sparkling Christmas decorations up until next month. 

English Heritage is making the recommendation for families struggling through the winter darkness to leave their adornments in place through January to Candlemas on February 2.

WEYMOUTH: A used Christmas tree is seen by rubbish and recycling bins in Weymouth

BERKSHIRE: Dumped trees at the council recycling point at Clayfield Copse Nature Reserve

Candlemas is celebrated on February 2, and marks the ritual purification of Mary, 40 days after the birth of her son Jesus.

So-called because it was the day that all the Church’s candles for the year were blessed, the ancient festival marked the mid point of winter, half way between the winter solstice (shortest day) and the spring equinox.

Some people lit candles to scare away evil spirits on the dark winter nights.

Others believed that Candlemas predicted the weather for the rest of the winter.

According to historian Dr Michael Carter, the tradition that it is bad luck to keep decorations up after Twelfth Night is a ‘modern invention’ which may derive from the medieval superstition that adornments left up after Candlemas eve would become possessed by goblins.

He said: ‘I’m of the opinion that, after the year we’ve all had, we certainly deserve to keep the Christmas cheer going a little longer.’

English Heritage’s senior properties historian explained: ‘In the Middle Ages, houses would be decorated with greenery for the Christmas season on Christmas Eve day. 

‘The feast of Christmas started at around 4pm on Christmas Eve afternoon and continued until the Epiphany on January 6.

‘But contrary to popular belief, the Christmas season actually continues right through to Candlemas on February 2, so there’s no real reason why you should take your decorations down earlier.’

Many families have chosen to dump their Christmas trees at recycling spots across the country – from Ash in Surrey to Reading and London. 

But others have decided to keep their decorations in place until next month.

Gyles Brandreth tweeted: ‘On reflection, I think we’ll keep the Christmas decorations up until Candlemas – that’s 2 February. 

‘It’s allowed & there’s life in the old tree yet. I used to think taking them down by 6 January was the rule, but it’s not so. I say: let’s keep that Christmas spirit going!’ 

Many families have chosen to dump their Christmas trees at recycling spots across the country – from Ash in Surrey to Reading and London. But others have decided to keep their decorations in place until next month

SURREY: Christmas trees are left for recycling in Ash

LONDON: A person logging past a Christmas tree discarded on the pavement in Balham

LONDON: A person walking past a Christmas tree discarded on the pavement in Tooting

Tory MP Andrew Rosindell also wrote on Twitter: ‘Such a sad sight to see! A Christmas tree that can take up to 10 years to grow, is dumped in the street, before twelfth night. Why can’t we keep these beautiful trees on display for longer and decorate them for new year celebrations or keeping them on display until Candlemas?’

English Heritage said that Candlemas was observed as the official end of Christmas in medieval England.

Candlemas is celebrated on February 2, and marks the ritual purification of Mary, 40 days after the birth of her son Jesus.

So-called because it was the day that all the Church’s candles for the year were blessed, the ancient festival marked the mid point of winter, half way between the winter solstice (shortest day) and the spring equinox.

Some people lit candles to scare away evil spirits on the dark winter nights.

Others believed that Candlemas predicted the weather for the rest of the winter.

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