"Twelfth Night" by David the Teniers the Younger
Friko brings us to the 22nd Avent window this fine
December morning over on her site
The Twelve Days of Christmas begin on December 25 and end on Epiphany, January 6. In the Middle Ages this period was one of continuous feasting and merrymaking, which climaxed on Twelfth Night, the traditional end of the Christmas season.
During the twelve days of Christmas, traditional roles were often relaxed, masters waited on their servants, men were allowed to dress as women, and women as men. Often a Lord of Misrule was chosen to lead the Christmas revels. Some of these traditions were adapted from older, pagan customs, including the Roman Saturnalia. Some also have an echo in modern day pantomime where traditionally authority is mocked and the principal male lead is played by a woman, while the leading older female character, or 'Dame' is played by a man.
Painting by Frederick Richard Pickersgill