I love celebrating Twelfth Night for so many reasons. To start, I’m an English nerd and anything Shakespearean tickles my fancy. It also gives me something to look forward to after Christmas and bringing in the New Year. Lastly, if you haven’t checked out my About page (Behind the Quill), I explain how my blog’s namesake connects to Shakespeare’s play of the same name. So, it goes without saying that this is an obligatory holiday for Twelfth Light to celebrate, right?!?!
There is so much history involved with this holiday, but I’ll focus my post on the Twelfth Night Cake, also known as the King’s Cake.
Here’s a little background knowledge for my history-seekers out there:
“The Twelfth Night Cake is an often-ornate confection into which a bean, a coin or a tiny carved or cast metal version of the Baby Jesus was placed. During early evening ceremonies, the cake was cut and its pieces distributed to guests who were advised to chew carefully. The person who found the icon then became the king or queen of Twelfth Night. By the late 18th century in England and America, the selection of Twelfth Night’s “royalty” was also alternately accomplished by the distribution of paper slips with each piece of cake. The slips were opened and the person holding the one with a special mark inside was declared king.
Some believe this paper ballot tradition was instituted as a matter of safety to prevent often-inebriated and distracted guests from inadvertently choking to death on hard beans, coins or a cast metal Jesus hidden in wads of cake” (Levins).
Twelfth Night CUPcakes!
I wanted to bring Twelfth Night into this century, so I created a Twelfth Night CUPcake contest at my school for my colleagues. I just didn’t have time to make my own cupcakes like I wanted to originally, but the bakery ones were oh-so-yummy and my friends didn’t seem to mind. 🙂
I added quotes to the cupcakes from Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night like this:
The reason for the odd, double-cupcake liner was to find the winner of Twelfth Night! I didn’t want my friends to choke on something in the cupcakes, so I did this, instead:
I hope everyone at school had fun playing along today! Congratulations to one of our secretaries, Deb, for being crowned the Queen of Twelfth Night. Along with bragging rights, she won a $15.00 Starbucks gift card. Hopefully Deb can find something at Starbucks that’s as sweet as she is.
To wash down all that cake, I’d suggest a traditional Wassail beverage (the name comes from the old English term “Waes hael” meaning “be well”). Here’s a lovely recipe from Cookie + Kate!
Happy Twelfth Night!
The winning cupcake quote?? 😉
“Fate, show thy force. Ourselves we do not owe /
What is decreed must be; and be this so.”
Today’s post is dedicated to the lovely and brilliant Sarah, a colleague and friend of mine. Her wedding day to (husband!!) Chris was October 11, 2014. Sarah was radiant and rivaled the Duchess of Cambridge in beauty (sorry, K-Mid).
Sarah and I are both teachers and anytime one of our colleagues gets married or has a child, our staff typically throws a little shower for the new bride/groom or parent-to-be. Well, since I was head of the planning committee for this one, I decided to get creative and make her a Wedding Wishing Well. And, if Sarah is anything like me, I thought this idea would be perfect if she’s experiencing post-wedding depression (umm..it’s a thing).
This project is perfect as a group gift, a workplace gift, a bridesmaids group gift to the bride, or even a family gift.
Here’s a quick history on the concept, if you like that sort of thing:
“The concept of a wishing well has been around for centuries. It is a tradition that a wish would be granted, especially if a coin was thrown into the water at the same time. The belief appears to have been born out of the many different folklore stories about how gods or saints gave water to the people in order for them to flourish and this was simply a way of paying them back. Other stories state that your wish would only come true if you would drop a coin into the well after you placed a wish, and the coin landed face up at the bottom of the well.
The Wedding Wishing Well has established itself as a traditional way to collect envelopes, checks, and other monetary gifts at weddings, and bridal showers. Similar to a traditional wishing well, the gift giver is wishing for good luck, prosperity, and a successful marriage for the new couple. The Wedding Wishing Well works well in today’s day and age where more and more brides and grooms may already have enough home furnishing and would be better able to utilizes a gift card or other monetary gifts in place of a traditional appliance.
Simply place our Wedding Wishing Well on a table at the reception hall or family home to provide a convenient place for guests and family to place their well wishes.”
Source: Amie’s Wishing Wells
Sarah’s basket and directions are below. I love how it turned out! 🙂
Step 1: Use this Heart Template and print onto colored card stock (I used ivory).
Step 2: Give each person that is contributing to the wishing well a heart (or several) and give clear directions of what to write on the heart, when it is due back to you (I gave my co-workers a little over a week), and that they may include a monetary gift to help the couple begin their lives together. (If you’d like to to this gift on your own, you could just fill out all the hearts yourself).
Step 3: Once you receive the completed hearts (and if monetary contributions were part of your project) count up the funds and decide (approx.) how many dates you can create.
Step 4: Download the Best Dates Ever Template and just delete Sarah and Chris’s dates out of the document. I left them in there if you needed some ideas! The dates should have a clear itinerary, outfit ideas and a bonus photo challenge/date hash tag (perfect for those Instagramers!).
Step 5: Glue or tape all of the advice hearts onto the date envelopes. The next step is optional, but, I used the hearts on each envelope to create questions that the couple can answer throughout the dates.
Step 6: Display all of the envelopes in a basket or wishing well. I added two adorably named bottles of wine (Once Upon a Vine and Fancy Pants) and tape the extra hearts on the lid. I finish off the project with leopard print flowers because Sarah loooooves animal print. Here’s the final product!
So, that’s all there is to it! 🙂 I’ll leave you with proof of how glowing and happy Sarah was on her big day.
Small-world tangent: Sarah’s wedding photographer was an old acquaintance who I met fourteen years ago at one of my first jobs! John is so genuine and kind, so if you happen to be in need of any photography services, check out his amazing work here or here.
Congratulations, Tags!!!! ❤
PostScript: Sarah–before I got married, a friend of mine (and also fellow blogger!) wrote this beautiful toast on a piece of slate for my garden. I love these words and so now I’m going to pass them onto you:
“Love, be true to her; Life, be dear to her;
Health, stay close to her; Joy, draw near to her;
Fortune, find what you can do for her,
Search your treasure house through and through for her,
Follow her footsteps the wide world over —
And keep her husband always her lover.”
-Old English Toast to a Bride