The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #16362 Message #152613
Posted By: Joe Offer
21-Dec-99 - 06:18 PM
Thread Name: Twelve Days of Christmas-for teaching catechism?
Subject: RE: Twelve Days of Christmas
Well, MTed, the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit go way back in Catholic teaching. The gifts are from Chapter 5 of the letter to the Galatians, and the fruits are from Chapter 11 of Isaiah. All the other stuff on your list goes back to the first few centuries of Christianity, long before Henry VIII and Pope Clement VII had their little tiff in 1534, which established the Church of England.
Once upon a time, I had all the gifts and fruits memorized, along with the twelve points of Scout Law, but such things have started to fade a bit. Baltimore Catechism No. 2 says the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. The 12 fruits are charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, long-suffering, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, and chastity. Running through my memory right now, I see that I can still recite the gifts and the Scout Law, but the fruits don't sound very familiar after about the fourth one. I notice that the question about the fruits is the only one on the page that isn't circled, so maybe the Good Sisters didn't make us memorize that one because they didn't want to explain incontinence and chastity.
I guess, considering the idea of the "folk process," it might almost be safe to say that the religious meanings have become part of the folklore connected with the song. My question is, when did the religious connotations come in? My guess is 1950, give or take 20 years. The religious meanings behind "Green Grow the Rushes" and "Go Where I Send Thee" are a lot more clear. Before I agree that there are religious connotations to the partridge in the pear tree, I wanna see better proof.