Twelfth Night Thoughts

So Twelfth night was yesterday which I always thought marked the end of Christmas.

Actually, there seems be some disagreement as to when it is – yesterday, today, tomorrow. The end of Christmas or the Roman festival of Saturnalia. I heard on BBC Radio 4 the other day, so it must be true, that Christmas ends on February 2nd. I am still not sure why that is.

Feel free to take your pick.

Hopefully you had a fun and enjoyable Christmas with gifts or presents measured not so much by cost or size or weight but by relevance. What we in my trade call 2nd positioning. This is, the ability to put yourself in the position or “shoes” of another person. So that on the receiving end you know that have been thought about.

And being thought about brings to me to a new discovery.

No doubt many of you last week in various states of inebriation, melancholy or just caught up in the habits of New Year will have joined in the Auld Lang Syne habit.

You know it’s virtually impossible to find a version of this that doesn’t have bagpipes in it somewhere. This seems to be one export that the Scots have no problem about the rest of the world appropriating.

Sadly it being in a foreign language, the meaning for me still got lost. That led me to a happy hour or so researching the song on the web.

It was written by Robert Burns in 1788 although it’s been used by many others before and since as a way to remind people to remember.

I found out that those opening words are really a question. It’s a rhetorical one and therefore made more as a statement, as in:

Should old friends be forgotten and never remembered

Should old friends be forgotten and the days they shared together

Rather than:

Should old friends be forgotten and never remembered?

Should old friends be forgotten and the days they shared together?

The chorus makes this clear:

For days now in the past, my dear For days now in the past

We’ll drink a toast of kind remembrance For days now in the past

There are a couple of more verses about getting a drink and remembering specific events and then this:

So take my hand, my trusty friend and give me your hand

and we will take a hearty drink together

In memory of those days now in the past

So, at this time of year when the decorations, the cards, the tree and in my case the angel chimes (memories you see) get put away, I can now understand that the song is a means of connecting with the positive and happy people and times in the past.

Around this Twelfth Night I feel a bit like the Magi from TS Eliot’s poem of 1930:

“A cold coming we had of it,

Just the worst time of the year

For a journey, and such a long journey"

Which about sums up the last couple of years and therefore let’s look forward with the best of our past to a better 2013 with the intention of nurturing friends and creating memories so that we can in the future look back fondly and happily

For old time’s sake..

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