Good morning to everyone. Hoping to find all well and happy. today is the second day of Christmas....and did you realize that? It is so discouraging to see that so many do not remember that there are 12 days of Christmas. Now a days, so many even take down their decorations today, when really...Christmas has just begun.
Growing up, we always celebrated Christmas until the three kings day on January 6th. You wouldn't dream of taking down the decorations until then. It wasn't until I became a storyteller that I learned the story behind the 12 days of Christmas. To some...it may be such the song that you have heard through the years...but it is so much more. Catholics in England during the period 1558 to 1829, when Parliament finally emancipated Catholics in England, were prohibited from ANY practice of their faith by law - private OR public. It was a crime to BE a Catholic. Imagine that?
It is said that "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written in England as one of the "catechism songs" to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith - a memory aid, when to be caught with anything in *writing* indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could not only get you imprisoned, it could get you hanged, or shortened by a head - or hanged, drawn and quartered, a rather peculiar and ghastly punishment I'm not aware was ever practiced anywhere else. Hanging, drawing and quartering involved hanging a person by the neck until they had almost, but not quite, suffocated to death; then the party was taken down from the gallows, and disemboweled while still alive; and while the entrails were still lying on the street, where the executioners stomped all over them, the victim was tied to four large farm horses, and literally torn into five parts - one to each limb and the remaining torso.
The songs gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestling, much in memory of the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so..."
The other symbols mean the following:
2 Turtle Doves means The Old and New Testaments
So to honor that, I will reflect on something OLD in my life and decide on something NEW that I will begin.
3 French Hens means Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds means the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings mean The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying means the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming means the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking means the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing means the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping means the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping means the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming means the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed
So today, as I turn on my tree lights and bow my head in prayer...I look to the song for my teachings. I remember that this time is the 12 days of Christmas. I will sing the 12 days of Christmas song to remind myself of how fortunate I am to be able to sing of my faith without any repercussions. .