NOTES FROM NORMA
Isnít it fun to learn about the history of Christian traditions? Since "The Twelve Days of Christmas" has animals in it, and Holly is part of the Garden, it seems appropriate to share how these became part of our Christmas celebration!
The Twelve Days of Christmas
In the 1500ís , British Catholicís were not permitted to practice their faith, since The Church of England was the only permitted religion. Catholicism was forced underground, and this song was used to teach children about their faith under the guise of a lovesick man for a woman! Eventually it found itís way to being a carol, and this is why:
The partridge in a pear tree is Baby Jesus.
Two turtledoves represent the Old and New Testaments.
Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love.
Four calling birds attest the Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Five golden rings recall the Torah, or Law of Moses (the first five books of the Old Testament).
Six geese a-laying represents the six days of creation.
Seven swans a-swimming are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
Eight maids a-milking are the eight Beatitudes.
Nine ladies dancing represent the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peach, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.
Ten lords a-leaping equate the Ten Commandments.
Eleven pipers piping stand for the eleven faithful disciples.
Twelve drummers drumming symbolize the twelve points of belief in the Apostlesí Creed.
This is just a simple summaryÖfor the whole story check out "Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas" by Ace Collins. ISBN 0-310-23926-5 $14.99
Another Christmas tradition is the use of holly. Looking it up on the Internet leads to "The Celtic Origins of Holly "atwww.tartans.com/articles/holly.
Originally, holly was associated with the Sun God, Saturn, and then used by the Druids and other pagan religions. The holly was hung around their homes during winter so the fairies of the forest could keep warm among the leaves while visiting. Other pagan religions used holly as protection from evil spirits.
Druids specifically saw the year round green of holly as natureís way of keeping the earth beautiful when other trees lost leaves. The holy berries represented sacred menstrual blood of their goddess.
Christians began displaying holly to avoid persecution. Eventually the berries represented the blood of Jesus and thus became Christmas tradition.
There is a lot more detail on the website . Have fun and explore. Perhaps these two bits of trivia will make you the hit Christmas Dinner Conversationalist!
With Christmas Blessings,
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