Christmas is a twelve-day festival, each day being a different Saint’s Day. During the Tudor period every one of the twelve days was celebrated. Save for the care of animals, all work was forbidden, beginning again on Plough Monday, which was the first Monday after Twelfth Night.
Although each of the twelve days of Christmas had its own peculiar celebration, not all the twelve days were celebrated equally. The three most important celebrations took place on the Saints’ Days of December 25thJanuary 1st and January 6th. It was on these days that the most lavish feasts took place, with up to twenty-four courses being served in aristocratic households. Leftover food – of which there was lots – was used to feed the poorer members of society.