Twelfth Eve

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X:1 T:Twelfth Eve M:C| L:1/8 R:Country Dance N:”From a Collection published about 1703.” B:Elias Howe – Musician’s Omnibus Nos. 6 & 7 (Boston, 1880-1882, p. 611) B: Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Gmin FE|D2G4A2|BABc Bc d2|c2Ac2f2|A4 A2 FE| D2G4A2|BABc Bc d2|gfed cBAG|G6|| GA|B2B2B2F2|B2d2d2f2|f2d2 cdcB|A6 Bc| Bc d2d2 cB|cd e2 e2 dc|d2g2 ^fgaf|g6||

Twelfth Night Merrymaking in Farmer Shakeshaft's Barn, from Ainsworth's Marvyn Clitheroe, by Phiz.
TWELFTH EVE. English, Country Dance Tune (cut time). G Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. Christmas in Georgian times extended from Saint Nicholas’ Day (6th December) to the Epiphany (6th January). The twelve days of Christmas concluded with Twelfth Night (holiday), the sixth of January being the twelfth day after Christmas and therefore also known as Twelfth-day. It wasa time for wassailing, mummer's plays and guise dancing. Old Twelfth Eve, pre- the Georgian calendar, was January 17th.

William Hone, in his The Every-Day Book of 1825, has this entry for the fifth of January:

This is the eve of the Epiphany, or Twelfth-night eve, arid is a night of preparation in some parts of England for the merriments which, to the present hour, distinguish Twelfth-day. Dr. Drake mentions that it was a practice formerly for itinerant minstrels to bear a bowl of spiced-wine to the houses of the gentry and others, from whom they expected a hospitable reception, and, calling their bowl a wassail-bowl, to drink wassail to their entertainers. These merry sounds of mirth and music are not extinct. There are still places wherein the wandering blower of a clarionet, and the poor scraper of as poor a fiddle, will this evening strain their instruments, to charm forth the rustic from his dwelling, and drink to him from a jug of warm ale, spiced with a race of ginger, in the hope of a pittance for their melody, and their wish of wassail.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Barlow (The Complete Country Dance Tunes from Playford's Dancing Master), 1985; No. 501, p. 113. Elias Howe (Musician’s Omnibus Nos. 6 & 7), Boston, 1880-1882; p. 611. Henry Playford (The Dancing Master, 11th edition), Part II, 1701; p. 14.

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