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I've heard multiple reports on when Christmas ends. Some say Epiphany, some say the Baptism of the Lord (January 13), some say today, February 2 (Purification of the BVM / Candlemas), and others say it lasts until Septuagesima Sunday, which changes every year.

It appears that looking at my 1962 missal, the "Christmas Cycle" lasts from the First Sunday of Advent until Septuagesima Sunday, "Christmastide" lasts from the Vigil of the Nativity on December 24 to the Commemoration of the Baptism of Jesus on January 13, and the "Season after Epiphany" lasts from January 14 to Septuagesima Sunday. Are those three things correct?

My friend was saying that today was the last time he could say "Merry Christmas" because it's Candlemas, but that wouldn't seem to apply to years in which Septuagesima Sunday occurs before February 2. So when does Christmas really end?
Today...Merry Christmas!

[Image: candlemas.jpg]
It would depend on which calendar you use.
It depends on the calendar, but it also depends on what you consider to be "Christmas." The reason some people go as far as February 2 is that the Marian Antiphon is still Alma Redemptoris Mater, with the versicle, response and collect as on Christmas, through Vespers on the 2nd. It is used for the last time on February 2 even if the feast of the Purification is transferred.

The last day I think you could definitely reckon as Christmas according to the 1960 rubrics would be January 5, and the case can probably be made for the Epiphany. Before 1956, Epiphany had an octave, which would then extend the festal office to the 13th; in the 1960 calendar, this is not really an Octave any more.

The term "cycle" basically refers to those Sundays that are determined by the associated feast - the Sundays of Advent are determined by Christmas; the Sundays after Epiphany obviously depend on Epiphany. In the Roman Rite, I think it is clear that Epiphany is associated with Christmas, given the prominence of the Magi in the Roman tradition; in the East, Theophany (as it is called) is focused almost entirely on the Baptism in the Jordan and the manifestation of the Trinity.

ETA: Actually consulting the rubrics, "Christmastide" explicitly includes January 13 (General Rubrics no. 72). Christmastide is comprised of two seasons: "Christmas," running I Vespers of Christmas through None of January 5; and "Epiphany" running from I Vespers of Epiphany through Compline of the 13th. Seasonal vestments are white during this entire period, even on ferias. Beginning on Matins of the 14th, we enter the 1st part of the "per annum" portion of the year, until I Vespers of Septuagesima Sunday.
Secular :  after Midnight Dec. 25th
Nouvus Ordo :  Jan, 13th Baptism of Our Lord
Traditional :  Feb. 2nd Purification of the BVM (Candlemas)
(02-04-2014, 04:38 AM)Gidge Wrote: [ -> ]Secular :  after Midnight Dec. 25th
Nouvus Ordo :  Jan, 13th Baptism of Our Lord
Traditional :  Feb. 2nd Purification of the BVM (Candlemas)

Novus Ordo vs Traditional: two versions of the same rite? Ha, ha, ha!
(02-04-2014, 04:38 AM)Gidge Wrote: [ -> ]Secular :  after Midnight Dec. 25th

One time many years ago, my wife, children, and I jumped in the car on Christmas afternoon, heading for my parents' home for our traditional Christmas dinner with my family.  The people about 10 doors down from us had already thrown their Christmas tree out on the curb.  It was about 1:00 in the afternoon on Christmas day.
(02-04-2014, 09:33 AM)DJR Wrote: [ -> ]
(02-04-2014, 04:38 AM)Gidge Wrote: [ -> ]Secular :  after Midnight Dec. 25th

One time many years ago, my wife, children, and I jumped in the car on Christmas afternoon, heading for my parents' home for our traditional Christmas dinner with my family.  The people about 10 doors down from us had already thrown their Christmas tree out on the curb.  It was about 1:00 in the afternoon on Christmas day.

I'll bet that was a very Merry Christmas at that home! LOL

(02-06-2014, 01:52 PM)eschera Wrote: [ -> ]
(02-04-2014, 09:33 AM)DJR Wrote: [ -> ]
(02-04-2014, 04:38 AM)Gidge Wrote: [ -> ]Secular :  after Midnight Dec. 25th

One time many years ago, my wife, children, and I jumped in the car on Christmas afternoon, heading for my parents' home for our traditional Christmas dinner with my family.  The people about 10 doors down from us had already thrown their Christmas tree out on the curb.  It was about 1:00 in the afternoon on Christmas day.

I'll bet that was a very Merry Christmas at that home! LOL

Isn't that pathetic?  I wonder how long the toys lasted.