Painted in 1635 by David Teniers the Younger, “Peasants Celebrating Twelfth Night” hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Twelfth Night will be celebrated with an ecumenical church service at the Penfield Homestead Museum Sunday, Jan. 8, at 3 p.m. at the Penfield Church.
Twelfth Night will be celebrated with an ecumenical church service at the Penfield Homestead Museum.
The event will be held Sunday, Jan. 8, at 3 p.m. at the Penfield Church, across the street from the Penfield Museum in Ironville.
It will feature songs, scriptures and stories, according to Joan Hunsdon of the Penfield Homestead Museum. There will also be light refreshments.
Sponsored by the museum, it will feature members of the Crown Point Methodist Church, Sacred Heart Catholic Church and the First Congregational Church.
Located in the Crown Point hamlet of Ironville, the Penfield Homestead Museum is the former home of Allen Penfield and reflects the 19th Century when mining dominated the regional economy. It is also the birthplace of the electrical age.
The hamlet of Ironville, on the National Register of Historic Places, is listed as the “Birthplace of the Electric Age” since it is the site of the first industrial application of electricity in the United States in 1831. The electricity was provided by a simple battery known as a “wet battery,” which in turn was used to power one of Joseph Henry’s electromagnets. The electromagnet was used in Ironville to recharge the magnetic prongs on the magnetic ore separator, a machine used to remove the iron from the crushed ore.
Central to the museum is an exact replica of a large electromagnet now in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
Penfield moved his family to Crown Point in 1828 to make his fortune in the mining industry. The home he build was occupied by three generations before becoming a museum which houses a collection of 19th Century artifacts memorabilia.
Crown Point iron was an indispensable product for the North in the Civil, War. Iron from Crown Point was used to construct the battleship Monitor.
The museum contains samples of iron ore mined by Penfield along with pictures of the mines in operation.
Rooms in the museum are furnished with original pieces once belonging to the Penfields. Other historic furniture is also on display.
Ironville was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. The homes along the main street were all constructed in the early 19th Century.
Those buildings, besides the museum, include the Harwood House, a church, a parsonage, a boarding house and homes and barns that have been in use for 150 years and longer.
The Twelfth Night tradition dates to the Middle Ages.
In early times, Christmas was 12 days of celebration, starting on Dec. 25 and culminating on the 12th night, which was considered “Christmas Day.”
Hence, the song “Twelve Days of Christmas” and the play “Twelfth Night” by William Shakespeare.
In 529, Roman Emperor Justinian named Christmas to be a civic holiday. Work and public business not associated with the celebration of the holiday was strictly forbidden. In 563, a decree from the Council of Braga declared that fasting on Christmas was prohibited and in 567 the Council of Tours elected the 12 days from Dec. 25 to Epiphany to be sacred.
As a result, in the Middle Ages Christmas was not one day to take off work and spend with family, but 12 days of celebration. In older times, the “Twelfth Night” brought great festivities.
In some areas of the world, it is still proper to erect a Christmas tree on Christmas Eve and leave it up until a week after New Year for this reason.