Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Twelfth Night Revels

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

TWELFTH NIGHT REVELS (J8x40) 3C (4C set) Bill Zobel and Muriel A Johnstone

1- 8 1s dance ½ Fig of 8 round 2s, 1s cross RH back to place then 1s and 2s set to partner
9-16 1s and 2s ¾ turn RH and 1M+2L turn 1½ times LH while 1L+2M chase ½ way then 2s and 1s ¾ turn RH
17-24 1s dance ½ reel of 3 on sides (RSh to 3rd corner), 1s cross up/down to continue reel on opposite sides and end in middle BtoB (1L facing up)
25-32 1s dance 4 bars of Crown Triangles ending 2nd place own sides, all turn partners RH. 213
33-40 All circle 6H round and back

(MINICRIB, Dance Crib compiled by Charles Upton, Deeside Caledonian Society, and his successors)


Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams


Dance Information

Twelfth Night is a festival in some branches of Christianity marking the coming of the Epiphany.

Different traditions mark the date of Twelfth Night on either 5 January or 6 January; the Church of England, celebrates Twelfth Night on the 5th and "refers to the night before Epiphany, the day when the nativity story tells us that the wise men visited the infant Jesus". In Western Church traditions, the Twelfth Night concludes the Twelve Days of Christmas; although, in others, the Twelfth Night can precede the Twelfth Day.

In medieval and Tudor England, Candlemas traditionally marked the end of the Christmas season, although later, Twelfth Night came to signal the end of Christmastide, with a new but related season of Epiphanytide running until Candlemas. A popular Twelfth Night tradition was to have a bean and pea hidden inside a Christmas cake; the "man who finds the bean in his slice of cake becomes King for the night while the lady who finds a pea in her slice of cake becomes Queen for the night." Following this selection, Twelfth Night parties would continue and would include the singing of Christmas carols, as well as feasting.

Food and drink are the centre of the celebrations in modern times, and all of the most traditional ones go back many centuries. The punch called wassail is consumed especially on Twelfth Night, but throughout Christmas time, especially in the UK. Around the world, special pastries, such as the tortell and king cake, are baked on Twelfth Night, and eaten the following day for the Feast of the Epiphany celebrations.

Twelfth Night Revels Image
Twelfth Night Revels
"Twelfth Night Merry-Making in Farmer Shakeshaft's Barn", from Ainsworth's Mervyn Clitheroe, by Phiz, c. 1850


Dance Information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence.
Text from this original Twelfth Night Holiday article on Wikipedia.
Image Copyright Hablot Knight Browne: scanned by Steven J Plunkett (19th century printing of the above work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Additional search terms: 12th Night.

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