Christmas still here in Suffolk

BOSSES at Suffolk's Hintlesham Hall are today bucking the Christmas decoration trend after opting to keep two giant Christmas trees up deep into January.

BOSSES at Suffolk's Hintlesham Hall are today bucking the Christmas decoration trend after opting to keep two giant Christmas trees up deep into January.

Considered unlucky by some, the decision was taken after one of the town's leading religious figures revealed there is no reason why adornments can't stay in place until February 2.

Dee Ludlow, owner and managing director at Hintlesham Hall, said the two firs, covered with hundreds of lights each, had proved a hit with visitors.

She said: “Between Christmas and New Year I was standing outside talking to the Rural Dean of Ipswich Ian Morgan and I was saying to him what a shame these beautiful trees will have to come down next week.

“He said of course, they don't have to come down because it's an old wives' tale that they have to be down by the 6th.

“Apparently according to the church's calendar decorations go up on Christmas Eve and stay up for 40 days until the presentation of Christ in the temple on February 2, otherwise known as Candlemas.”

Most Read

Candlemas marks the end of the 40 days of Christmas season in the church calendar.

Ms Ludlow said the trees will actually come down next week as the management did not have the opportunity to make all clients booked up to use the venue aware that they would be there.

However she added that next year the trees, weather permitting, will remain up until Candlemas.

“They look beautiful and magical,” she said.

“It just seems such a shame to take them down because so many people get so much enjoyment from them.”

Mr Morgan said Christmas celebrations in the church began on Christmas Day and went on for 40 days until the preparation for Easter began and in recent years more and more Christians were celebrating in this way.

“Most people take down their decorations on January 6, twelfth night, but I think extending the celebrations is a good idea,” he said.

“For me the birth of Jesus is far too important to dismiss it in one day and then rush off to the sales - I think that's a bit sad.

“The period just after Christmas can also be very bleak and cold and the decorations brighten things up. Some people also want to still hold Christmas parties and they add a bit of pizzazz.”

Do you keep your decorations up past January 6? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

FASTFACTS: Candlemas

Candlemas, also known as the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, and the Meeting of the Lord, celebrates the presentation of Jesus by his mum and dad Mary and Joseph at the temple 40 days after his birth.

The event is described in the Bible and completed Mary's purification after childbirth, and was part of the Law of Moses carried out by all Jewish families.

They met Simeon in the temple who had been told “he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah”.

In the Church of England Candlemas is celebrated on February 2 or the nearest Sunday and marks the end of Epiphany.

Many churches and Christians keep their decorations up until Candlemas.

Folklore says if there is good weather at Candlemas there will be severe weather to come before winter is out - "If Candlemas Day is clear and bright, / winter will have another bite. / If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain, / winter is gone and will not come again."