A Word A Day





verb intr.: To celebrate boisterously.


Back formation from Mafeking (now Mafikeng), a town in South Africa, where a British garrison was besieged for 217 days during the Boer War. Lifting of the siege on May 17, 1900, sparked wild celebrations in London. Earliest documented use: 1900.


“Mother, may I go and maffick,
Tear around and hinder traffic?”
Saki aka HH Munro (1870-1916).


I THINK I’LL BE MAFFICKING ALL THE TIME FROM THE Feast of Fools all the way thru 12th Night!   ~~dru~~


Twelfth Night 


is a festival in some branches of Christianity marking the coming of the Epiphany. Different traditions mark the date of Twelfth Night on either 5 January or 6 January; the Church of England, Mother Church of the Anglican Communion, celebrates Twelfth Night on the 5th and “refers to the night before Epiphany, the day when the nativity story tells us that the wise men visited the infant Jesus”.  

In Western Church traditions, the Twelfth Night concludes the TwelvesDays of Christmas; although, in others, the Twelfth Night can precede the Twelfth Day.  Bruce Forbes wrote: “In 567 the Council of Tours proclaimed that the entire period between Christmas and Epiphany should be considered part of the celebration, creating what became known as the twelve days of Christmas, or what the English called Christmastide. On the last of the twelve days, called Twelfth Night, various cultures developed a wide range of additional special festivities. The variation extends even to the issue of how to count the days. If Christmas Day is the first of the twelve days, then Twelfth Night would be on January 5, the eve of Epiphany. If December 26, the day after Christmas, is the first day, then Twelfth Night falls on January 6, the evening of Epiphany itself.

A belief has arisen in modern times, in some English-speaking countries, that it is unlucky to leave Christmas decorations hanging after Twelfth Night, a tradition originally attached to the festival of  Candlemas (2 February), which celebrates the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple.    source: Wikipedia

In medieval and Tudor England, the Twelfth Night marked the end of a winter festival that started on All Hallows Eve — now more commonly known as Halloween. The Lord of Misrule symbolizes the world turning upside down. On this day, the King and all those who were high would become the peasants and vice versa. At the beginning of the Twelfth Night festival, a cake that contained a bean was eaten. The person who found the bean would rule the feast. Midnight signaled the end of his rule and the world would return to normal. The common theme was that the normal order of things was reversed. This Lord of Misrule tradition dates back to pre-Christian European festivals such as the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia.


Lord of Misrule

For other uses, see Lord of Misrule (disambiguation) and Lords of Misrule.

In England, the Lord of Misrule – known in Scotland as the Abbot of Unreason and in France as the Prince des Sots – was an officer appointed by lot at Christmas to preside over the Feast of Fools. The Lord of Misrule was generally a peasant or sub-deacon appointed to be in charge of Christmas revelries, which often included drunkenness and wild partying, in the pagan tradition of Saturnalia.

The Church held a similar festival involving a Boy Bishop. This custom was abolished by Henry VIII in 1541, restored by the Catholic Queen Mary I and again abolished by Protestant Elizabeth I, though here and there it lingered on for some time longer. On the Continent it was suppressed by the Council of Basle in 1431, but was revived in some places from time to time, even as late as the eighteenth century.

In the spirit of misrule, identified by the grinning masks in the corners, medieval floor tiles from the Derby Black Friary show a triumphant hunting hare mounted on a dog.

While mostly known as a British holiday custom, the appointment of a Lord of Misrule comes from antiquity. In ancient Rome, from the 17th to the 23rd of December, a Lord of Misrule was appointed for the feast of Saturnalia, in the guise of the good god Saturn. During this time the ordinary rules of life were subverted as masters served their slaves, and the offices of state were held by slaves. The Lord of Misrule presided over all of this, and had the power to command anyone to do anything during the holiday period. This holiday seems to be the precursor to the more modern holiday, and it carried over into the Christian era.

In the Tudor period the Lord of Misrule is mentioned a number of times by contemporary documents referring to revels both at court and among the ordinary people.