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Wunderabend (Night of Miracles or Twelfth Night)

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  • Was ist Wunderabend? (What is Night of Miracles or Twelfth Night?)
    • It is the last of the 12 nights or days of Christmas.
    • Beschreibung (description)
      1. Twelfth Night is a festival, in some branches of Christianity, marking the coming of Epiphany.
      2. Different traditions mark date of Twelfth Night on either 5th or 6th of January.
      3. Those who mark Twelfth Night on the 5th refer to the night before Epiphany, the day when the nativity story tells us that the 3 wise men visited baby Jesus.
      4. Other churches say the Twelfth Night concludes the 12 days of Christmas.
    • Ursprung (origin)
      1. In 567 the Council of Tours proclaimed that the entire period between Christmas and Epiphany should be considered part of the celebration, thus creating what became known as the 12 days of Christmas.
      2. On the last of the 12 days, called Twelfth Night, various cultures developed a wide range of additional special activities.
      3. The variation extends even to the issue of how to count the days.
        • If Christmas Day is the first of the 12 days, then Twelfth Night would be on January 5, the eve of Epiphany.
        • If December 26, the day after Christmas, is the first day, then Twelfth Night falls on January 6, the evening of Epiphany itself.
  • Wie feiert man Wunderabend? (How is Night of Miracles celebrated?)
    • It is observed with merrymaking, since it’s the last night to celebrate Christmas.
    • People in some areas gather on Epiphany Eve (January 5) to drink to the health and luck of the family and friends in the coming year. Special beer, known as Bockbier, is brewed for this purpose. This type of beer has a stronger taste and a higher percentage of alcohol than other beers.
    • The night of Epiphany is known as the night of miracles.
      1. It serves to predict the course of the entire year.
      2. Every one of its hours indicates the weather which will take place in each of the months to come.
      3. During this night, one must eat well and save some for the spirits.
      4. In the Alps and in the Danube area, Epiphany night has very old customs.
        • Frau Bercht (seducer of souls)
        • Alpendämonen (Demons of the Alps)
        • Perchten und Perchtenläufen or Perchtentanz (carnival processions of grotesque figures Perchten, masked and hooded and making as much noise as possible)