This is why you should leave your decorations up until February

This is why you should leave your decorations up until February

It's because you should really wait until Candlemas Day...

Written 6th January 2024 | Subscribe to our Christmas newsletter

This year, consider following the example of our medieval forebears and keeping your festive decorations up until Candlemas on 2 February.

The notion that it brings bad luck to leave decorations beyond Twelfth Night (around 6 January) is a contemporary interpretation of the tradition, as it used to be a customary practice during the medieval era.

What is Candlemas Day?

Candlemas, falling precisely 40 days after Christmas, marked the official conclusion of the Christmas season in medieval England. Recognized as the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, this date was significant, with candles intended for use in churches throughout the upcoming year being blessed on that day. Candlelit processions were also conducted in honor of this festive occasion.


Extensive evidence exists, documenting the tradition of keeping decorations up until the evening prior to Candlemas. Presently, many churches still uphold this practice with Christmas cribs remaining in place until Candlemas. The removal of these cribs is explicitly described in a poem dating back to the early 17th century:

Down with the rosemary, and so

Down with the bays and misletoe;

Down with the holly, ivy, all

Wherewith ye dress’d the Christmas hall;

That so the superstitious find

No one least branch there left behind;

For look, how many leaves there be

Neglected there, maids, trust to me,

So many goblins you shall see.

So you see, despite common belief, the Christmas season actually lasts until Candlemas on 2 February. So, there's no real need to take down your decorations earlier than that.

The idea that it's bad luck to keep decorations up after Twelfth Night and the Epiphany is a more recent notion. It might have originated from the medieval belief that leaving decorations up after Candlemas eve would attract mischievous goblins! Given the challenging year we've had, it seems fair to keep the Christmas cheer going a bit longer.

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