12 days of Christmas

Additionally known as Twelvetide and Christmastide

Twelve Days of Christmas, celebratory days which start on Christmas Day December, 25. This timeframe is additionally known as Twelvetide and Christmastide. This Twelfth Christmas Night always occurs on the eve of January 5, however this Twelfth Day may either follow or precede the Twelfth Night in accordance to which Christian custom is followed Twelfth Night proceeds a Feast of the Epiphany held on on 6 January. In some practices, the beginning day of Epiphany January 6, plus the twelfth day of Christmas coincide.

Today, many celebrants feast, offer gifts on every one of the Twelve Days, and celebrate the whole time period through Epiphany morning. A contemporary tradition in the United States is the lighting of a candle for every day and naturally singing the proper verses of the legendary song for each day also is a significant and joyous ingredient of these American festivities.

Many continue to observe Twelfth Night as a significant night for gift-giving and get-togethers, while people also burn a Yule Log beginning the first night (which is Christmas night) and let it continue burning a little each of the twelve nights. Many Americans additionally serve their own traditional meals on each night.

As in bygone days, Twelfth Night through Epiphany morning is the customary time to remove decorations and the Christmas tree. The Twelve Days of Christmas" Christmas carol was written down as a surreptitious tool for instructing children in the significance in the Christian faith. In the period beginning 1558 through 1829 English Roman Catholics were, forbidden from practicing their religion openly. So, this carol came about to put their message across without offending the Protestants. To most this carol is an amusing babble rhyme put to music. However it had quite a somber objective when it was originally written.

It is a great deal more than a simple melody that's repetitious containing a list of odd gifts and some pretty phrases. English Catholics during the period of 1558 through 1829, as Parliament at last emancipated English Catholics, were prohibited by law from practicing any of their faith in private or in public. In other words It was against the law to be Catholic.

"The Twelve Days of Christmas" put to words in England as a "catechism song" to assist young Catholics in learning the principles of their Catholic faith - as a memory support, when being caught with anything written indicating devotion to the Catholic religion might not just get you put in prison, it could get also you hanged, or, drawn and quartered, being a somewhat peculiar but ghastly punishment which I am not aware of being practiced in any other locale. Hanging, drawing and quartering was the process of hanging someone by their neck until they almost, although not totally, suffocated to their death; then they were removed from the gallows, and subsequently disemboweled as they were still alive; and as their entrails were lying about on the street, the executioners proceeded to stomp all over them, then the victim was fastened to four huge farm horses, and then literally ripped into five pieces - the four limbs and the torso which remained.

The words in the song have hidden connotations to the learning of the Catholic faith. The "true love" referred in the carol doesn't mean a suitor from earth, it means God. The "me" who is the receiver of these presents symbolizes every baptized person. Jesus Christ is the partridge in the pear tree. In the carol, Christ is presented symbolically as a mother partridge and simulates injury to distract predators away from her vulnerable nestlings, much in recollection of the representation of the sadness of Christ over Jerusalem's fate: "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 have the following meanings:

2 Turtle Doves = Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = Four Gospels or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = First Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = Six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = Eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = Ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = Eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = Twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

New Article Dec 4, 2012

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