In some traditions, Twelfth Night, the evening of the twelfth day of Christmas, is celebrated on 6 January rather than on 5 January. This makes no sense to me. 6 January is the Feast Of the Epiphany, when Christmastide gives way to Epiphanytide. Why would you celebrate the last day of Christmas on the first day of Epiphany?
Celebrating on the 6th also requires counting the day after Christmas as the first day of Christmas. Christmas is not the first day of Christmas? No, no — it cannot stand.
What’s been lost in all traditions is the custom of having a wild party on Twelfth Night. The holidays are considered over then in our time, people have gone back to work. But the holidays are not over, and people should not be back at work. They should be having wild parties, like the one depicted above by Jan Steen in 1662.
Click on the image to enlarge.