Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fourth Day of Christmas: Inaccuracies



The Twelve Days of Christmas.
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Liturgically the whole concept of the 12 days has been screwed up, pretty much because Epiphany is kept on the second Sunday after Christmas. Today is the 4th day in my calculations, although others would say it is the 3rd. I calculate from Christmas Day to January 5th, which I observe as 12th Night - January 6th being Epiphany. I'm probably wrong.
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Anyway. The Twelve Days of Christmas is one Christmas carol I do not like. There happens to be some debate concerning the origins of the song as well as its meaning. Some people say it was used as a way to catechize during the English Reformation, when Catholics were persecuted. As if the Protestants couldn't hear the singing, much less understand the meaning of the song - since they kept the same fundamentals of the faith.
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No, I think the song developed as a means to remind Catholics, and sympathetic members of the Church of England, that Christmas is not just a day, but lasts for twelve days. Liturgically there always has been the Octave, the eight days following, while the 4 days leading up to Epiphany equalled the full twelve days. But I'm getting over my head here.
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My point is this. In Cromwell's England, Christmas was for the most part banned, and if it was celebrated at all, it was done so privately, and it would probably not go beyond the day itself - just like modern times. Therefore, I believe the song was composed to encourage people to continue the tradition of celebrating Christmas for the full 12 days - even if everyone was saying the day after Christmas, "Whew! I'm glad that is over!"

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Ho, ho, ho!
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For more information on the Twelve Days of Christmas, click here.
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Did Oliver Cromwell personally ban Christmass in England? Click here to find out.

1 comment:

  1. David9:44 AM

    Hey Terry

    Dec 26-Jan 6 = 12 Days...right? We are on Day 4 (Dec 29) now and it is also (to MY delight)as it was (is still somewhere in the mixed up liturgical world)the feast of King St. David of Jerusalem.

    http://www.emmitsburg.net/sasolmc/did_you_know/2002/st_david.htm

    ReplyDelete


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