Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
- (archaic or obsolete) The season including Epiphany (the twelfth day after Christmas) and the evening of the preceding day (Twelfth Night), regarded as the end of the Christmas season; Epiphany itself.
1580, Thomas Tusser, “The Ploughmans Feasting Daies”, in W[illiam H.] Payne and Sidney J[ohn Hervon] Herrtage, editors, Fiue Hundred Pointes of Good Husbandrie. [...] The Edition of 1580 Collated with those of 1573 and 1577. Together with a Reprint, from the Unique Copy in the British Museum, of “A Hundreth Good Pointes of Husbandrie,” 1557 (Series D., Miscellaneous; vol. 8, nr. 21), London: Printed for the English Dialect Society by Trübner & Co., 57 and 59, Ludgate Hill, published 1878, OCLC 834902376, page 180:
- Plough Monday, next after that Twelftide is past, / bids out with the plough, the woorst husband is last. / If ploughman get hatchet or whip to the skreene, / maides loseth their cock if no water be seene.
1678 December 14, Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, Report on the Manuscripts of the Duke of Bucculech & Queensberry, K.G., K.T., Preserved at Montagu House, Whitehall (Cd. 930), volume II, part 1 (The Shrewsbury Papers), London: Printed for His Majesty's Stationery Office by Mackie & Co. Ld., published 1903, OCLC 29096713, page 28:
- The Earl of Shrewsbury to Sir John Talbot. […] Therefore I will propose all the ways that I can think of and desire your opinion which is the safest, whether by a coach that often passes by here in its way to London, but the inconvenience of that is that it goes no more till towards Twelfthtide, or else by my own horses either publicly or privately, or else post.
1828 December 20, “Popular Superstitions. [Chapter II. The New Year.]”, in The Extractor; or Universal Repertorium of Literature, Science, and Arts: Comprehending, under One General Arrangement, the Whole of the Instructive and Amusing Articles from All the Reviews, Magazines, and Journals. The Whole Carefully Compiled, Digested, and Methodised, volume I, number VIII, London: Printed for the proprietor, and published at The Extractor Office, 150, Fleet Street, OCLC 503961655, page 280:
- The custom of eating twelfth cake, and especially of drawing for king and queen, on the Epiphany, or twelfth day, or twelfth tide, or old Christmas day (January 6), as it is variously termed, is antique. In the ancient Calendar of the Romish Church, is an observation on the fifth day of January, the vigil of the Epiphany, "Kings created or elected by beans;" and the sixth is called "The Festival of Kings," with the additional remark, "that the ceremony of electing kings was continued with feasting for many days."
1831, J[ohn] Payne Collier, “Annals of the Stage, from the Year 1558 to the Year 1575”, in The History of English Dramatic Poetry to the Time of Shakespeare: and Annals of the Stage to the Restoration, volume I, London: John Murray, Albemarle Street, OCLC 505121727, page 207:
- The cost of the Revels at Christmas, New-year-tide, Twelfth-tide and Shrovetide, all falling within the four months from the end of October, 1573, to the beginning of March, 1573–4, was 672l. 14s. 2d.: it included the expenses of preparations, &c., for plays and masks (each mask having its torchbearers), a list of which, as performed at Christmas, New-year-tide, and Twelfth-tide, is given as follows, in the account of the Office of the Auditors of the Imprest.
1852, Benjamin Thorpe, compiler, “North German Customs and Superstitions”, in Northern Mythology, Comprising the Principal Popular Traditions and Superstitions of Scandinavia, North Germany and the Netherlands. Compiled from Original and Other Sources, [...] In Three Volumes, volume III (North German and Netherlandish Popular Traditions and Superstitions), London: Edward Lumley, Southampton Street, Bloomsbury Square, OCLC 656592812, page 153:
- SUPERNATURAL BEINGS OF TWELFTHTIDE. In the greater part of the north of Germany the belief is not yet wholly defunct, particularly among the peasantry, of the wandering of certain supernatural beings during the twelve days of Christmas; […]
2012 May, Thammy Evans, “Pelagonia, Prespa and Pelister”, in Macedonia: The Bradt Travel Guide, 4th edition, Chalfont St. Peter, Buckinghamshire: Bradt Travel Guides, ISBN 978-1-84162-395-5, page 200:
- Vevčani has held a Twelfthtide carnival on 13 and 14 January every year since the middle of the 6th century. The 12 days after Christmas, which in the Orthodox calendar is on 7 January, are meant to be a time when evil spirits are at their most active with regards to wreaking havoc on the coming year.