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Origin of the Twelve Days of Christmas [An Underground Catechism]
Catholic Information Network.org ^ | 12-17-05 | Fr. Hal Stockert

Posted on 12/26/2004 5:44:28 PM PST by Salvation

 

 

On the first day .. 

ORIGIN OF
"THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS"

An Underground Catechism

You're all familiar with the Christmas song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" I think. To most it's a delightful nonsense rhyme set to music. But it had a quite serious purpose when it was written.

It is a good deal more than just a repetitious melody with pretty phrases and a list of strange gifts.

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.

"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 disembowelled 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 nestlings, 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 = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

--Fr. Hal Stockert  12/17/95

P.S. It has come to our attention that this tale is made up of both fact and fiction. Hopefully it will be accepted in the spirit it was written. As an encouragement to people to keep their faith alive, when it is easy, and when any outward expressions of their faith could mean their life. Today there are still people living under similar conditions, may this tale give them courage, and determination to use any creative means at their disposal to keep their faith alive.
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For your information and discussion.

The first day of Christmas was yesterday when God gave us the "Partidge in a Pear Tree" -- Jesus Christ.

1 posted on 12/26/2004 5:44:29 PM PST by Salvation
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To: All

The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself.


2 posted on 12/26/2004 5:45:33 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

For Catholics and Christians Christmas starts on Christmas Day and lasts through the feast of the Epiphany, when the Magi brought gifts to the Christ Child.

So Catholics and many Christians put up their Christmas trees on Christmas eve and while the unbelievers take down their trees, these people leave theirs up through January 6th.


3 posted on 12/26/2004 5:52:40 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
Debunked at Snopes:

http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/12days.asp

4 posted on 12/26/2004 5:53:28 PM PST by freebilly (Go Santa Cruz Basketball! Beat Palo Alto!)
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To: freebilly

And I am supposed to believe that rather than Catholic tradition?

You must have a thing about this. Why don't you believe ein the Twelve Days of Christmas?


5 posted on 12/26/2004 5:55:21 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Why don't you believe in the Twelve Days of Christmas?


6 posted on 12/26/2004 5:57:10 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

"Catholic tradition"? NO proof just hearsay. Historical tracing proves otherwise.


7 posted on 12/26/2004 6:02:55 PM PST by swmobuffalo (the only good terrorist is a dead one)
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To: swmobuffalo; sinkspur

History of the Catholic opression in England??? Sources, please??

This may be a part of history that many would like to forget, but it is still there and it DID happen.


8 posted on 12/26/2004 6:07:21 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: swmobuffalo

http://www.cin.org/avatar.html


9 posted on 12/26/2004 6:09:57 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Nice story, but evidently not true.

http://answers.org/issues/twelvedb.html

Dan


10 posted on 12/26/2004 6:11:51 PM PST by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: BibChr

So are you denying that this song was used in England when Catholics were opressed?


11 posted on 12/26/2004 6:16:34 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

I know it was a really long and involved post, so let me try to break it down.

I think what I'm trying to say is --

http://answers.org/issues/twelvedb.html

Dan


12 posted on 12/26/2004 6:17:34 PM PST by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: Salvation
It has come to our attention that this tale is made up of both fact and fiction. Hopefully it will be accepted in the spirit it was written.

Without honesty, nothing else matters..

I despise fictional cutsie tearjerker stories too.

13 posted on 12/26/2004 6:36:01 PM PST by Publius6961 (The most abundant things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.)
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To: Publius6961
Here is another point of view:

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Dennis Bratcher

The Twelve Days of Christmas are probably the most misunderstood part of the church year among Christians who are not part of liturgical church traditions. Contrary to much popular belief, these are not the twelve days before Christmas, but in the Western Church are the twelve days from Christmas until the beginning of Epiphany  (January 6th; the 12 days count from December 25th until January 5th).

The origin of the Twelve Days is complicated, and is related to differences in calendars, church traditions, and ways to observe this holy day in various cultures (see Christmas).  In the Western church, Epiphany is traditionally celebrated as the time the three Wise Men or Magi arrived to present gifts to the young Jesus (Matt. 2:1-12). In some cultures, especially Hispanic and Latin American culture, January 6th is observed as Three Kings Day, or simply the Day of the Kings (Span: la Fiesta de Reyes, el Dia de los Tres Reyes, or el Dia de los Reyes Magos; Dutch: Driekoningendag).  Even though December 25th is celebrated as Christmas in these cultures, January 6th is often the day for giving gifts. In some places it is traditional to give Christmas gifts for each of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Since Eastern Orthodox traditions use a different religious calendar, they celebrate Christmas on January 7th and observe Epiphany or Theophany on January 19th.

By the 16th century, some European and Scandinavian cultures had combined the Twelve Days of Christmas with (sometimes pagan) festivals celebrating the changing of the year. These were usually associated with driving away evil spirits for the start of the new year. 

The Twelfth Night is January 5th, the last last day of the Christmas Season before Epiphany (January 6th), and often included feasting along with the removal of Christmas decorations. French and English celebrations of Twelfth Night included a King's Cake, remembering the visit of the Three Magi, and ale or wine (a King's Cake is part of the observance of Mardi Gras in French Catholic culture of the Southern USA).  In some cultures, the King's Cake was part of the celebration of the day of Epiphany.

The popular song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is usually seen as simply a nonsense song for children. However, some have suggested that it is a song of Christian instruction dating to the 16th century religious wars in England, with hidden references to the basic teachings of the Faith.  They contend that it was a mnemonic device to teach the catechism to youngsters. The "true love" mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the "days" represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn.

However, many have questioned the historical accuracy of this origin of the song The Twelve Days of Christmas.  It seems that some have made an issue out of trying to debunk this as an "urban myth," some in the name of historical accuracy and some out of personal agendas.  There is little "hard" evidence available either way.  Some church historians affirm this account as basically accurate, while others point out apparent historical discrepancies. However, the "evidence" on both sides is mostly in logical deduction and probabilities.  One internet site devoted to debunking hoaxes and legends says that, "there is no substantive evidence to demonstrate that the song 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' was created or used as a secret means of preserving tenets of the Catholic faith, or that this claim is anything but a fanciful modern day speculation ..."  What is omitted is that there is no "substantive evidence" that will disprove it either.

It is certainly possible that this view of the song is legendary or anecdotal. Without corroboration and in the absence of "substantive evidence," we probably should not take rigid positions on either side and turn the song into a crusade for personal opinions.  That would do more to violate the spirit of Christmas than the song is worth.  So, for the sake of historical accuracy, we need to acknowledge this uncertainty.

However, on another level, this uncertainty should not prevent us from using the song in celebration of Christmas. Many of the symbols of Christianity were not originally religious, including even the present date of Christmas, but were appropriated from contemporary culture by the Christian Faith as vehicles of worship and proclamation. Perhaps, when all is said and done, historical accuracy is not really the point.  Perhaps more important is that Christians can celebrate their rich heritage, and God's grace, through one more avenue this Christmas. Now, when they hear what they once thought was a secular "nonsense song,"  they will be reminded in one more way of the grace of God working in transforming ways in their lives and in our world.  After all, is that not the meaning of Christmas anyway?

(Click on a picture below to go to a devotional for that day)

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 1, Christmas Day, December 25
A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . ." (Luke 13:34)

On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 2, December 26
Two Turtle Doves
The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God's self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 3, December 27
Three French Hens
The Three Theological Virtues:  1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 4, December 28
Four Calling Birds
The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God's reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 5, December 29
Five Gold Rings
The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch:  1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity's sinful failure and God's response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.

On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 6, December 30
Six Geese A-laying
The six days of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1).

On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 7, December 31
Seven Swans A-swimming
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11)

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 8, January 1
Eight Maids A-milking
The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. (Matthew 5:3-10)

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 9, January 2
Nine Ladies Dancing
The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit: 1) love, 2) joy, 3) peace, 4) patience, 5) kindness,
6) generosity, 7) faithfulness, 8) gentleness, and 9) self-control.  (Galatians 5:22)

On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 10, January 3
Ten Lords A-leaping
The ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God's name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17)

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 11, January 4
Eleven Pipers Piping
The eleven Faithful Apostles: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James.  (Luke 6:14-16).  The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the Romans.

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 12, January 5
Twelve Drummers Drumming
The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed: 1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave]. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the holy catholic Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting.

Epiphany, January 6

An Epiphany Devotional, January 6

An Epiphany Devotional

Graphics for the Twelve Days of Christmas by The Twelve Days of Christmas.
Thanks to Yvonne Edwards for suggesting this page and finding the graphics.

-Dennis Bratcher, Copyright © 2004, Dennis Bratcher, All Rights Reserved


14 posted on 12/26/2004 6:37:52 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Publius6961

At least they were honest in making that statement.


15 posted on 12/26/2004 6:39:02 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

**we probably should not take rigid positions on either side and turn the song into a crusade for personal opinions. That would do more to violate the spirit of Christmas than the song is worth. So, for the sake of historical accuracy, we need to acknowledge this uncertainty.**

Wise words.


16 posted on 12/26/2004 6:44:19 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
And I am supposed to believe that rather than Catholic tradition?

No but as The Twelve Days of Christmas points out

The key flaw in this theory is that the differences between the Anglican and Catholic churches were largely differences in emphasis and form which were extrinsic to scripture. Although Catholics and Anglicans used different English translations of the Bible (Douai-Reims and the King James version, respectively), all of the religious tenets supposedly preserved by the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" (with the possible exception of the number of sacraments) were shared by Catholics and Anglicans alike:

Conversely, none of the important differences that would obviously distinguish a Catholic from a Protestant is mentioned here
Despite what the nuns taught you, the practice of Chriatianity did not stop in England just because Pope Paul IV ordered English Catholics to commit treason or face excommunication
17 posted on 12/26/2004 6:50:31 PM PST by Oztrich Boy (Never Apologise. Never Explain)
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To: Oztrich Boy

The Twelve Days Of Christmas joyhorn.gif


By Tim Knappenberger

Philippians 1:27-30

"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved--and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have. "

In the not-so-tolerant past, music and poetry were often used as media of expression for ideas that were not in fashionable with the contemporary powers that be. Mother Goose rhymes were disguised political commentaries of their day. The Twelve Days of Christmas was written along similar lines. While "surfing", I happened on this history of the carol. There was no author cited:

The English began writing carols in the 15th century, but later the Puritans suppressed these religious songs altogether. After Christmas was restored in England, festive songs praising feasting and good will developed. During this time, Catholics in England could not openly practice their faith. So, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" became popular as a Catechism song for young Catholics, according to Ann Ball's book, "A Handbook of Catholic Sacramentals."

  • Instead of referring to a suitor, the "true love" mentioned in the song refers to God.

  • The "me" receiving the presents is symbolic of every baptized person.

  • The partridge in the pear tree is Jesus Christ, and in the song, He is symbolically presented as a mother partridge who feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings.

    The other symbols carry their own religious meanings:

  • Two turtle doves: The Old and New Testaments

  • Three french hens: Faith, hope and charity

  • Four calling birds: The four Gospels

  • Five gold rings: The first five books of the Old Testament or the Torah

  • Six geese a laying: The six days of creation

  • Seven swans a-swimming: The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit

  • Eight maids a-milking: The eight Beatitudes

  • Nine ladies dancing: The nine fruits of the Holy Spirit

  • Ten lords a-leaping: The Ten Commandments

  • Eleven pipers piping: The eleven faithful disciples

  • Twelve drummers drumming: The twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed

How interesting and sad that a song written to secretly remind Christians about the doctrines of their faith was disguised so well that after 400 years, the secular world more identifies with this carol than do Christians who are mostly unaware of its origins and meanings.

The freedom to exercise our faith in this country is still amazing. Cherish it this Christmas!
---
"Internetspirations" is copyright 1996 by Robert Clemmons and used with the kind permission of the author.

18 posted on 12/26/2004 6:52:41 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

I wasn't aware that martians had a web site.


19 posted on 12/26/2004 6:54:01 PM PST by Publius6961 (The most abundant things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.)
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To: Salvation
At least they were honest in making that statement.

Without even a token attempt to refute it.

That doesn't prevent the neurotic from flogging the dead horse.
Faith is not always a wonderful thing.

20 posted on 12/26/2004 6:56:25 PM PST by Publius6961 (The most abundant things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.)
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To: Publius6961
It isamazing how many sites I found that had references to this, isn't it? And I think I went through only two of Google's pages. PS. I know you are jesting.
21 posted on 12/26/2004 7:18:52 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Oztrich Boy

That site has so many pop ups on it I won't even go there.


22 posted on 12/26/2004 7:20:09 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
Um, since pretty much all of those twelve points are coincident with the teachings of Christian Orthodoxy then WHY would English catholics make a "spy song" out of them (as a memory aid with supposedly hidden equivalencies) when they were perfectly able to find them taught in ALL the churches in England anyway?

The song has nothing Marian in it (excessive reverence to Mary is counter to Protestant teaching) nor anything Petrine (or any papal reference: another sticking-point between catholicism and Protestantism) so, why bother with a 'hidden meaning'-type of song enumerating non-controversial points of doctrine?

Nice story, cute; but it's still just a SONG.

23 posted on 12/26/2004 7:27:41 PM PST by solitas
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To: solitas

Yes, I realize it is JUST a song, however, I am more interested in getting people to realize that Christmas time is the time through Christmas Day until the Epiphany.

Hopefully you understand that and agree with it. It was always difficult to explain to my children why our tree stayed up longer than all their friends' trees.

I guess Christians and Catholics are just different than the non-believers that way.


24 posted on 12/26/2004 7:35:24 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
I'm a Christian. I'm also reasonably educated. Just because I get an email claiming something is true is no reason for me to believe it. Logic tells me that there's no difference in the Bible of Catholics and the Bible of Anglicans. Why would Catholics have to refer to Christ as "a partridge in a pear tree" instead of referring to him the way Anglicans did-- as Christ? Why would Catholics have to refer to the first five books of the Bible as "5 Golden Rings" instead of referring to them the way that Anglicans referred to them?

Offer me some actual evidence that "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was code for keeping Catholic tradition alive in the 16th & 17th Centuries and I may believe you. To cite an email that makes the rounds every year as proof is ludicrous.

Think.

25 posted on 12/26/2004 8:13:16 PM PST by freebilly (Go Santa Cruz Basketball! Beat Palo Alto!)
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To: Salvation
Oh! don't get me wrong - I wasn't commenting to You in particular; just generally about the song. :) I can understand Your point.

I keep my tree up 'way past Orthodox Christmas - we've had Valentines Day trees and Easter trees: I flavor the water with MiracleGrow (about a quarter to a third of what they recommend for indoor plants) and the damned things just keep going on happily! Still have a nice scent, and I've gotten better than 2" of new growth on 'em some years before we finally get tired enough of 'em to toss 'em outside.

As long as they keep their needles well (Fraser firs and Balsams are preferred) I've no problems letting them grow.

26 posted on 12/26/2004 8:21:50 PM PST by solitas
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To: freebilly

I'm confushed; where did you get the impression that this was an email? I linked it to the Catholic Information Network. (also posted a link to the author's credentials)


27 posted on 12/26/2004 8:36:57 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: solitas

Good idea about keep the trees green and growing. I never thought about putting Miracle Grow in the water, but it makes sense. Thanks for the hint.


28 posted on 12/26/2004 8:38:33 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
During the recently passed secular celebration of Christmas, I heard an advertisement on radio for some business.

The lyrics went: on the first day "of the SEASON" my true love gave to me.....insert gift item.

"Of the SEASON" was so offensive because of the replacement of the word Christmas. "Honestly, though," the thought came to me, "What in the world do they mean by 12 days?!"

It is clear they were parroting something they knew nothing about....as they attempted to avoid the word "Christmas" they highlighted the season.

29 posted on 12/26/2004 10:54:41 PM PST by xzins (The Party Spirit -- why I don't take the other side seriously!)
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To: Salvation
I think that the "12 days" is a marvelous anthem to Christmas - don't let the nay sayers ruin it.

At my house, the tree and decorations stay up till at least the 6th of Jan for the feast of the Epiphany.

At my house, we follow an old polish custom of marking all the door posts with the initials of the Three Kings, separated by a cross, using blessed chalk on the door posts above the doors. Looks like this G+M+B 05

The story goes something like this: On Jan 6, when the three wise men are on their way to Bethlehem, if your doors are marked, they will pass through your house and give their blessing to your family and each room that is marked. Is it true? Will they actually pass through your house? I don't know but its a wonderful custom and IF it is true, well, we can never have too many blessings!

Thanks for your posts!

30 posted on 12/27/2004 3:08:18 AM PST by Stubborn (It Is The Mass That Matters)
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To: Salvation

Catholics were oppressed in the colonies, also. The protestant reformation in Maryland was fairly brutal.


31 posted on 12/27/2004 3:17:04 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (This tagline under construction....)
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To: freebilly
Read any objective history of England..the supression of Christianty (membership in the Roman Catholic Church) was brutal. Priests and nuns (and the people that hid them) were hunted down and killed for many centuries. Read the life of St Thomas More or Saint Mary Ann Seton.

The rise of the Church of England (not a Christian church), promulgated by the divorce of Henry the VIII was not a spontanious outpouring by religious libertarians.

England.(translated "Angel-terre" of "Land of the angels") was Catholic the day after the first Roman outpost crumbled.

British Protestants need to complete their unholy rebellion by dropping "Land of Angels" as the name of their country and stick with "Britain" or any other pagan/athiest/socialist concoction they can think of.

32 posted on 12/27/2004 4:02:59 AM PST by Pio (Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus)
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This post calls to mind how Marcus Grodi of the Coming Home network reminded his viewers of how as a Protestant minister he never understood the Roman Catholic basis for the practice of Christianity especially around Christmas.

The Advent wreath with the one pink candle was a happy accident.

The embarrassing (to him) image of the Holy Family would come up and he would never, ever preach on it.

Some of his churches would even put a manger on the altar!!!! Horror of Horror STATUES!!!!

And now we come to this 12 days of Christmas song...what? no one-day celebration with a turkey, $1400.00 in gifts for the kiddies delivered by Satan Claus followed up by some football game?????

33 posted on 12/27/2004 4:10:34 AM PST by Pio (Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus)
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To: solitas; Salvation

Even as a taditional Catholic I have always thought the supposedly hidden premise of the song was a lot of bunk. There is nothing in the song that so called non Catholic Chrstians would object to. So why would the meanings have to be hidden?

Lets say there were hidden Catholic meanings. Who would hold the catechism class to teach this to all the kiddies, and how would you keep this class a secret? Once the kids went to it the whole neighborhood would know about it.

And how would the author have spread the word about his intentions? Would he send a notice around to all the Catholics he knew? He may indeed have wrtten the song with those hidden inentions in mind, but he may even have been a protestant, because I'm sure even protestants appreciate a catchy jingle with a double entendre religious meaning.

Any set of numbers from 1-12 can be used to bring to mind almost any set of circumstances.

I think it was during the 50's or 60's Red Sovine had a popular song out about a deck of cards. It seems a soldier took out the deck during a wartime religious service and got in trouble for it until he explained the religious meaning of every card in the deck. He used it as his Bible. It's possible some person will find this song 500 years from now and attribute it to the oppression of the 60's and howChristians had to resort to a deck ofcards to pray in secret, and be glad they didn't live during those barbaric times.


34 posted on 12/27/2004 6:55:26 AM PST by Arguss (Take the narrow road)
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To: Salvation

Obviously not Catholic. None of the images are Mary.


35 posted on 12/27/2004 7:23:26 AM PST by DManA
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To: Arguss
Exactly so! ;) What's the point to hold 'secret classes' to teach the 'hidden meanings' of the song (so why even BOTHER?) when none of those meanings are outside of "baseline" Christianity anyway?

There are threads around about "Deck of Cards". I believe it was written by T. 'Texas' Tyler, and I have the Wink Martindale version (I didn't know Red 'Teddy Bear' Sovine also recorded it). I googled it a while back; but haven't lately...

36 posted on 12/27/2004 8:00:14 AM PST by solitas
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To: solitas; Arguss

Could the children have been taught at home by their parents?

One by one the poem/music could have been distributed without notice.

It seems we all need to look back into history and see if Catholics were really prosecuted during these times. That, as far as I am aware, has not been researched on this particular thread.


37 posted on 12/27/2004 9:09:37 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Pio

Nope, Christmas runs through the Epiphany! And Christmastime in the Catholic Church covers two octaves, (weeks) until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.


38 posted on 12/27/2004 9:12:06 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
Reflections for Advent and Christmas, [November 28, 2004 - January 9, 2005]
39 posted on 12/27/2004 9:12:47 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
"It seems we all need to look back into history and see if Catholics were really prosecuted during these times. That, as far as I am aware, has not been researched on this particular thread."

Are you serious or just pouting? I for one am not in doubt about the persecution of Catholics during this era. The English martyrs are among the greatest heroes of the Church to have given their blood for Jesus and the Church and I hope will never be forgotten.

It's just the prominence and mystique this song has garnered that I question.

40 posted on 12/27/2004 10:36:22 AM PST by Arguss (Take the narrow road)
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To: Salvation
In the not-so-tolerant past, music and poetry were often used as media of expression for ideas that were not in fashionable with the contemporary powers that be. Mother Goose rhymes were disguised political commentaries of their day. The Twelve Days of Christmas was written along similar lines...

If this is really true - then why was much of the NT scripture not written in "mother goose rhyme" fashion in some of the more intense days of persecution for the church in the Roman world when believers were used as torches or fed to the lions? I am personally glad that I don't have to sing some silly little ditty in order to disguise Truth, because I know that He whose Truth it is says that we are to simply we proclaim Him. In Spirit and in Truth - not in nursery rhymes!

41 posted on 12/27/2004 10:45:17 AM PST by lupie
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To: xzins

Just the thought of hearing that makes me glad that I don't frequent the old news sources. Ick!


42 posted on 12/27/2004 9:09:11 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Stubborn

**The story goes something like this: On Jan 6, when the three wise men are on their way to Bethlehem, if your doors are marked, they will pass through your house and give their blessing to your family and each room that is marked. Is it true? Will they actually pass through your house? I don't know but its a wonderful custom and IF it is true, well, we can never have too many blessings!**

I have heard of marking the initials. But the part about the Three Wise Men passing through your household is new to me. Guess I'll have to look for it.


43 posted on 12/27/2004 9:10:49 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Pio

Thank you for the history lesson! I knew it was true!


44 posted on 12/27/2004 9:12:16 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Arguss

I thought that you were doubting the persecuting of Catholics. I understand how the song could have or might not have referred to secret inferences.


45 posted on 12/27/2004 9:14:51 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
"It seems we all need to look back into history and see if Catholics were really prosecuted during these times. That, as far as I am aware, has not been researched on this particular thread."

Are you serious?

46 posted on 12/28/2004 7:48:49 AM PST by Pio (Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus)
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To: Pio

BTTT on the First Day of Christmas.


47 posted on 12/25/2005 12:24:31 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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And I suppose there were never any signs in the Unitied States:
"Catholics Need Not Apply"????


48 posted on 12/27/2005 7:54:41 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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