“Why, this is very midsummer madness.”
It’s a quote from Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.”
And since today is Twelfth Night, let’s chat about it.
Twelfth Night is literally the last day of the famous “12 Days of Christmas.” It’s also the day before the Christian feast day of the Epiphany — the arrival of the 3 wise men to the cradle of Jesus and the third holiest day in the Church, right behind Easter and Christmas.
Its origin is pre-Christian, as it was the conclusion of the Yule or Winter Solstice season. As the world changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, so did the date of Christmas and Twelfth Night. When the date of the birth of Christ was “adjusted” to December 25th, the end of the solstice season coincided with Epiphany. (Or maybe the other way around. 😉)
So many traditions of the Christian world have their roots in the old ways, like the practice of “chalking the doors” on or around Epiphany. Many cultures (ancient and otherwise) mark doors with symbols as a way to protect the home from lightening, curses, and evil spirits.
When you chalk the door, you are drawing sacred signs and symbols (sigils, anyone??) on the door to bless the house and its inhabitants and to remind all who enter to live with an attitude of peace and generosity.
Want to know how to chalk your door? It’s a simple formula that separates the first and last 2 numbers of the year with the letters C, M, and B — like this:
20 + C + M + B + 23.
So what do the letters stand for? The names of Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar — the three Wise Men (Magi).
What do you think? Will you chalk your door? Lmk.