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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

12th and Last Day of Christmas: drummers drumming. Thing To Do Today.

It's Twelfth Night. Possibly. Unless Twelfth Night was yesterday or 17th January. People argue about this.

Anyway, it's more or less Twelfth Night, and the essential point about Twelfth Night is that everything is bonkers. If you have a king about the place then he must become a peasant for the night, and the peasant who finds a bean in his cake is elevated to the eminence of king.

If he finds a pea in this cake then he's made queen.

Those of you who are nodding sagely and murmuring wise things about chaos, cross-dressing, and Shakespeare's play have a point - though as a matter of fact Shakespeare's play was first performed on 2nd February, which is also, according to some people, the last day of Christmas.

But anyway, why are the drummers drumming?

Well, in Nuremberg there used to be a Twelfth Night tradition for all the children to run around knocking on all the doors of the town. In Sussex, England, people still go out and sing to the apple trees to ensure a good crop, and this may well involve a bit of percussion. Twelfth Night is also the start of the Carnival Season - and what is carnival without.some serious drums?

Copyright: Yuichi (via Wikimedia Commons)

I don't know if the musical version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory involves any drumming, but the company at Drury Lane Theatre in London will be celebrating Twelfth Night with cake and punch. The company there have been having a free feast on Twelfth Night since 1796, when Robert Baddeley left some money to the theatre for a celebratory nosh-up.

It would be a sad thing not to join in the Twelfth Night fun, and luckily even the most tin-eared of us can drum. So let's see if we can drum up some enthusiasm, at least. Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby present...

(please insert a do-it-yourself drum roll here)

...Twelfth Night!

And let the revels commence!

Thing To Do Today: drum. This word is actually rather dull. It means either the noise of a drum or the shape of a drum. It probably comes from the Middle Dutch tromme, which is an imitation of the sound a drum makes.

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