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Lyr Add: Twelve Days of Christmas

Penny S. 25 Jul 99 - 06:06 PM
Susan of DT 25 Jul 99 - 06:56 PM
Penny S. 26 Jul 99 - 03:51 AM
Joe Offer 26 Jul 99 - 04:01 AM
Penny S. 26 Jul 99 - 04:15 AM
Penny S. 26 Jul 99 - 04:46 AM
Lesley N. 26 Jul 99 - 08:54 AM
Joe Offer 26 Jul 99 - 03:16 PM
Joe Offer 26 Jul 99 - 03:25 PM
Penny S. 26 Jul 99 - 04:25 PM
Joe Offer 26 Jul 99 - 04:33 PM
Penny S. 26 Jul 99 - 05:08 PM
Penny S. 26 Jul 99 - 05:36 PM
Susan of DT 26 Jul 99 - 06:20 PM
Penny S. 26 Jul 99 - 07:36 PM
Big Mick 26 Jul 99 - 10:41 PM
Penny S. 27 Jul 99 - 07:49 PM
Joe Offer 11 Jan 01 - 07:30 PM
Haruo 11 Jan 01 - 10:00 PM
Joe Offer 11 Jan 01 - 11:07 PM
Burke 12 Jan 01 - 09:11 PM
Haruo 12 Jan 01 - 11:28 PM
Joe Offer 13 Jan 01 - 03:44 PM
Penny S. 14 Jan 01 - 05:10 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
From: Penny S.
Date: 25 Jul 99 - 06:06 PM

Click for related thread

I know this is a bit early, but I have just found my copy, and I thought I ought to send it before I lost it again. This is an alternative version to those in the DT. It was collected by Sabine Baring-Gould's aunt Cecily in 1840, and published in Folk Songs of Somerset, reprinted by David and Charles - I am afraid I have lost my notes of the publishing details, and of who provided the explanatory notes, which suggest an alternative to the recusant Catholic interpretations.

1. The first day of Christmas my true love sent to me, a part of a Juniper tree.
2. Two turtle doves
3. Three French hens
4. Four Colley-birds
5. Five, a golden ring
6. Six geese a-laying
7. Seven swans a-swimming
8. Eight hares a-running
9. Nine ladies dancing
10. Ten lords a-playing
11. Eleven bears a-baiting
12. Twelve bulls a-roaring

The notes refer to versions from Devon (the Nawden Song), Scotland, Northumbria, France and the Languedoc, as well as one in Halliwell's Nursery Rhymes. There is reference to forfeits being paid by singers who could not remember the whole.

Notes

1. Partridge (in those versions) - speckled birds represent the evil one. Pear trees have magical properties associated with Christmas Eve. Joli perdrix may be transferred from the French.
2. Turtle doves refer to lovers.
3. French hens - may be simply rare foreign birds.
4. Colley-birds are blackbirds
5. Gold ring - it is suggested that this means goldspinks, goldfinches
7. Swans are sometimes steers a-running
8. Hares, are sometimes swans or deer a-running
9. Ladies may be drummers or lords a-leaping
10. Lords may be pipers, ladies, or bells a-ringing
11. Bears may be ladies, or bulls a-bleating
12. Bulls may be lords, cocks a-crowing, bells a-ringing, ships a-sailing

The music is different from the usual version set by Richard Austin. I have it as a Noteworthy file.


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD Twelve Days
From: Susan of DT
Date: 25 Jul 99 - 06:56 PM

Thank you, but we already have the original and 3 parodies. If you are in a Christmas mood, check out @Xmas to see what we have and thus, what we are missing. We would appreciate your filing in any of those missing. Thanx again.


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD Twelve Days
From: Penny S.
Date: 26 Jul 99 - 03:51 AM

Susan, thank you for answering so soon. Actually, this topic was one of the first I checked in the DT, and when I found this while looking for other material, I thought people might be interested in the range of variation from an early date. It has certainly whetted my appetite for the French and Languedoc versions.

Penny


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD Twelve Days
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Jul 99 - 04:01 AM

I see that the Digital Tradition is starting to include some of the historical information we've posted about songs, and I'm sure glad they do that. The database offers multiple versions of many songs, but I imagine Dick and Susan have to set some limits.
I don't think any song posted here in the forum is wasted. I found your lyrics very interesting, Penny, and I'm sure others feel the same. Can you post any more information explaining the background and context of the song? Can you click on my name and e-mail me the alternate tune as a NoteWorthy file? Thanks.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD Twelve Days
From: Penny S.
Date: 26 Jul 99 - 04:15 AM

Joe, unfortunately there was nothing else, apart from its having been collected in Somerset. It appears that the possibility of hidden meanings was not being considered. The partridge bits I edited, as they didn't seem to make sense. It said that perdrix was French for pear tree, but when I learned the words "joli perdrix" in "Aupres de ma blonde", I was told it was a partridge. The notes assumed that as many as possible of the early words were birds, hence the goldfinches. I'll send the Noteworthy file as soon as I can. I wrote it in yesterday, and then saved it as a MIDI file, but when I re-opened it, it had garbled all my careful formatting. I won't be able to post via your link directly, either, because of the way this machine is set up. Expect the file from a very educational looking sender.

Penny


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD Twelve Days
From: Penny S.
Date: 26 Jul 99 - 04:46 AM

correction - joli perdrix was interpreted as the juniper.

Penny


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD Twelve Days
From: Lesley N.
Date: 26 Jul 99 - 08:54 AM

Considering how often I have messed up after the first five I am amazed the lyrics come down with any consistency at all! However, I shall have most fun this Christmas with the hares, bears and bulls - and no one will know if I don't get the right number!

Thanks for an interesting information!


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD Twelve Days of Christmas
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Jul 99 - 03:16 PM

I've added a link in the first message above (here, too) to a previous discussion of the meaning and history of this song, where Zorro contended it was a secret code used for Roman Catholic religious instruction during the period when papism was repressed in England. Interestingly, the Jesuit priest who helps out at our parish on weekends had used the same story as the basis for a sermon. I posted a message to that effect which appeared to corroborate Zorro's contention.

I think there's need for further study. Our visiting Jesuit is delightful storyteller, but one could question the scholarship of some of his research. He wasn't doing scholarly work, so it's not fair to ask that question. He found a good story, and used it skillfully to make his point.
I don't really know, but I have a hunch that the information Zorro presented could be what we used to call "old nuns' tales" when I was in the seminary - Catholic "urban legends," if you will. Back in the "good old days" in Catholic schools, the nuns used to tell us all sorts of pious stories, and I guess I have to say that some of them were a bit warped. I don't really know if the nuns believed the stories they told. As we grew older, most of us figured out that the stories just weren't true. Some of us - the ones who stayed in the Catholic Church, I suppose - find a lot of humor in this body of legends. Others look on the telling of these stories to children as a horrible thing that can warp children forever - and I suppose that most of these people left the church with a bitterness that will never be cured. And I suppose there are others, still pious Catholics, who believe all those stories.
I have to say that I was a bit distressed when my son came home from second grade with a story I had heard as a kid, about the robbers who stole consecrated hosts from a church, and then the robbers stabbed the hosts with a knife and the hosts started bleeding, and left a trail of blood so the priests could track down the robbers and rescue the hosts. Well, heck, it is a great story, but my son is now 26 and has a horrible attitude about the Catholic Church, so maybe it wasn't a good idea to tell those stories.

So, is Zorro's explanation of the 12 days an old nun's tale? I dunno. I suppose the same question could be asked about the contention that "Green Grow the Rushes" was a catechetical device. I'm sure that both songs have been used for religious teaching. That's exactly what our parish Jesuit did - but is that their origin? It's an interesting question, I think.
This is one of those situations when I'd like to hear an opinion from Bruce Olson.
Bruce?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Tune Add: TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Jul 99 - 03:25 PM

Here's the tune that Penny e-mailed to me, and I hope that Dick and Susan will consider adding it to the database.

MIDI file: 12DAYS~1.MID

Timebase: 192

Name: 12 Days of Christmas
Text: traditional
Copyright: none.
Tempo: 100 (600000 microsec/crotchet)
Key: A
TimeSig: 4/4 24 8
Start
0000 1 69 110 0094 0 69 000 0002 1 69 110 0160 0 69 000 0032 1 69 110 0142 0 69 000 0002 1 69 110 0046 0 69 000 0002 1 69 110 0160 0 69 000 0032 1 69 110 0142 0 69 000 0002 1 64 110 0046 0 64 000 0002 1 69 110 0142 0 69 000 0002 1 71 110 0046 0 71 000 0002 1 73 110 0142 0 73 000 0002 1 74 110 0046 0 74 000 0002 1 76 110 0256 0 76 000 0032 1 69 110 0094 0 69 000 0002 1 69 110 0160 0 69 000 0032 1 71 110 0142 0 71 000 0002 1 73 110 0046 0 73 000 0002 1 74 110 0142 0 74 000 0002 1 73 110 0046 0 73 000 0002 1 71 110 0144 0 71 000 0000 1 69 110 0046 0 69 000 0002 1 69 110 0670 0 69 000 0002 1 69 110 0094 0 69 000 0002 1 69 110 0094 0 69 000 0002 1 69 110 0094 0 69 000 0002 1 69 110 0142 0 69 000 0002 1 69 110 0046 0 69 000 0002 1 69 110 0160 0 69 000 0032 1 69 110 0094 0 69 000 0002 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 69 110 0142 0 69 000 0002 1 71 110 0046 0 71 000 0002 1 73 110 0142 0 73 000 0002 1 74 110 0046 0 74 000 0002 1 76 110 0336 0 76 000 0048 1 76 110 0160 0 76 000 0032 1 76 110 0142 0 76 000 0002 1 74 110 0046 0 74 000 0002 1 73 110 0160 0 73 000 0032 1 76 110 0160 0 76 000 0032 1 76 110 0142 0 76 000 0002 1 74 110 0046 0 74 000 0002 1 73 110 0160 0 73 000 0032 1 76 110 0160 0 76 000 0032 1 76 110 0142 0 76 000 0002 1 74 110 0046 0 74 000 0002 1 73 110 0160 0 73 000 0032 1 76 110 0160 0 76 000 0032 1 76 110 0142 0 76 000 0002 1 74 110 0046 0 74 000 0002 1 73 110 0160 0 73 000 0032 1 76 110 0160 0 76 000 0032 1 76 110 0142 0 76 000 0002 1 74 110 0046 0 74 000 0002 1 73 110 0160 0 73 000 0032 1 76 110 0160 0 76 000 0032 1 76 110 0142 0 76 000 0002 1 74 110 0046 0 74 000 0002 1 73 110 0160 0 73 000 0032 1 76 110 0160 0 76 000 0032 1 76 110 0142 0 76 000 0002 1 74 110 0046 0 74 000 0002 1 73 110 0160 0 73 000 0032 1 76 110 0160 0 76 000 0032 1 76 110 0142 0 76 000 0002 1 74 110 0046 0 74 000 0002 1 73 110 0160 0 73 000 0032 1 76 110 0160 0 76 000 0032 1 76 110 0142 0 76 000 0002 1 74 110 0046 0 74 000 0002 1 73 110 0160 0 73 000 0032 1 76 110 0160 0 76 000 0032 1 76 110 0142 0 76 000 0002 1 74 110 0046 0 74 000 0002 1 73 110 0160 0 73 000 0032 1 76 110 0160 0 76 000 0032 1 76 110 0142 0 76 000 0002 1 74 110 0046 0 74 000 0002 1 73 110 0160 0 73 000 0032 1 69 110 0142 0 69 000 0002 1 69 110 0046 0 69 000 0002 1 69 110 0160 0 69 000 0032 1 71 110 0142 0 71 000 0002 1 73 110 0046 0 73 000 0002 1 74 110 0142 0 74 000 0002 1 73 110 0046 0 73 000 0002 1 71 110 0144 0 71 000 0000 1 69 110 0046 0 69 000 0002 1 69 110 0336 0 69 000 0240 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 66 110 0160 0 66 000 0032 1 68 110 0094 0 68 000 0002 1 69 110 0094 0 69 000 0002 1 71 110 0160 0 71 000 0032 1 68 110 0094 0 68 000 0002 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 69 110 0736 0 69 000
End

This program is worth the effort of learning it.

To download the March 10 MIDItext 98 software and get instructions on how to use it click here

ABC format:

X:1
T:12days
M:4/4
Q:1/4=100
K:A
AA2A3/2A/2A2A|-A/2E/2A3/2B/2c3/2d/2e3|AA2B3/2c/2d3/2c/2B|
-B/2A/2A7|AAAA3/2A/2A2A|EA3/2B/2c3/2d/2e3|
-ee2e3/2d/2c2e|-ee3/2d/2c2e2e|-e/2d/2c2e2e3/2d/2c|
-ce2e3/2d/2c2e|-ee3/2d/2c2e2e|-e/2d/2c2e2e3/2d/2c|
-ce2e3/2d/2c2e|-ee3/2d/2c2e2e|-e/2d/2c2A3/2A/2A2B|
-B/2c/2d3/2c/2B3/2A/2A3|-A3EEF2G|AB2GEA3|
-A19/4||


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD Twelve Days
From: Penny S.
Date: 26 Jul 99 - 04:25 PM

Joe, thanks for those comments, and the links. I've been doing some reading in a bookshop - one essay on Victorian Catholicism in 1850 in a section on English Non-conformism (of which Catholicism was a very special case). It is clear that there was no official oppression (apart from the disadvantages shared by all non-Anglicans) at that time, and that anti-catholic feeling arose (for various reasons) from the masses, only to fade away quickly. These events happened rarely. We have a problem over here that churchgoers of any persuasion tend to learn their own history and no other. So the Congregationalists learn about the arguments about bishops and the prayer book; the Methodists learn about the case where Wesley was tried for leading prayers in a private house (a maid snitched, but he won the case, and it was one of the key ones for religious freedom); the Quakers learn about the Reading children who kept the meeting when their parents were in jail, and Penn and Meade being tried for preaching in the Strand (that was a key case for juries, as they refused to find the men guilty and were jailed themselves to make them change their verdict); the Baptists learn about Bunyan, and no-one puts the whole together. As a result people make mistakes - candles in churches in films of Jane Eyre for example, or a village parish church that remained Catholic continuously in Higgins' "The Eagle has Landed".

I have a friend who went to a convent school - have you heard the nun's story about patent leather shoes? It seems an awful shame for a tradition with Hilda and Hildegard and other educated ladies in it to come down to such stories.

Penny


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Subject: Growing Up Catholic
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Jul 99 - 04:33 PM

Oh, yes, Penny, I heard the stories about how good Catholic girls were not allowed to wear patent leather shoes. I suppose that every time I see a woman in black patent, I steal a glance to see if I can see anything "interesting' reflected. Never have seen a thing, but it has activated my imagination at times.
See? The story had the exact opposite effect it was supposed to have.

-Joe Offer, who never was very good at maintaining "custody of the eyes"-


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD Twelve Days
From: Penny S.
Date: 26 Jul 99 - 05:08 PM

That link has me worried. I wrote quite clearly a reference to a 17th century version (I assume) of Green grow the rushes, and I cannot remember a thing about it.

I really should have put in the reference, shouldn't I?

Penny


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD Twelve Days
From: Penny S.
Date: 26 Jul 99 - 05:36 PM

And here is an address

Click for a related song


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD Twelve Days
From: Susan of DT
Date: 26 Jul 99 - 06:20 PM

Sorry, Penny. On a first look it looked like the standard one. We have lots of versions/parodies, mostly parodies (more than 3 - what I searched on eliminated a few).


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD Twelve Days
From: Penny S.
Date: 26 Jul 99 - 07:36 PM

Susan, accepted. It does, doesn't it - the juniper tree doesn't leap out at you, and it's some time before you hit the hares and the bears.

Penny


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD Twelve Days
From: Big Mick
Date: 26 Jul 99 - 10:41 PM

I love this song and it is about a boy growing up Roman Catholic,
Mick


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD Twelve Days
From: Penny S.
Date: 27 Jul 99 - 07:49 PM

I've found a book on English Catholicism between the Elizabethan Settlement and the Second Vatican Council. It's a fascinating story, which out to be more widely known, much more fascinating than old nun's tales of persecution. In brief, there was no complete break in Catholic practice in England. There were monks and nuns back in the country in the 17th century, and priests could live openly very soon after Tudor times. There were Catholic schools. There were, of course, problems. Both sides during the Reformation had martyrs, though it looks as though the Protestants were killed for their beliefs, and the Catholics were killed because it was believed that they presented a political threat. Both Catholics and Dissenters suffered together from one set of laws, but the Catholics had the additional burden of recusancy fines. These were not exacted from the great families at Court (like the Howards, Fadac), or the poor, but the gentry class who were farmed over many years as a source of income. Anti-Catholicism was an undercurrent which occurred in all classes, with occasional outbursts such as Titus Oates' Papist Plot (One man, rejected as a priest by both the Anglicans and the Catholics, managed to cause appalling results.) The Church was run by the gentry, with lay appointments of priests, and one odd result of the eventual Emancipation was that they were able to go on longer doing this than might otherwise have happened. During the eighteenth century the artisan class became more dominant in the church and built chapels away from the great houses and foreign Embassies which had provided Masses since Tudor times. These chapels would have been hard to tell from Dissenting chapels, having little decoration, no statues or votive candles, no incense or devotion to saints. Prayers could have been in English. This would not be out of a wish to hide, but because of the mood of the time, and started an ad hoc parochial system. With the return of the hierarchy, all this was fitted back into a normal framework. Anti-Catholic laws were not consistently applied, varying in place and time. There were mutual misunderstandings: Catholics' attempts to be discreet led to a belief that they were carrying out dark and secret practices; Rome was, on several occasions, misled into believing that England was ready for re-conversion by over-eager converts, and sometimes its responses were ill-timed and led to increased Anti-Catholic feelings. Most Catholics managed to be loyal both to Rome and to England, but they still had doubts of the papal organisation, perhaps sharing the general perception of Rome's connection with England's enemies. Their numbers remained about 30,000 to 40,000, until the Irish started to arrive, when numbers rapidly rose to millions. The Irish were poor, and visible, another problem, and there is still a distance between Irish Catholics, the old families, and the much publicised new converts. One of the points in the book is that where there poor Catholics, Masses held in back rooms, and rooms above inns are not because of being in hiding, but because of poverty. This is only a summary, but its well worth finding out this history: I wish there had been more personal detail, but it was a thin book. I do find that the facts are often much more interesting than the myths, though another of the books points was that the stories of martyrdoms, part of the myths, was what served to hold the community in faith. There were very few periods when a mnemonic song such as this would have been useful.

Changing the subject rather, apart from being how the truth behind an old hagiography is more interesting than the imagined tale.

This is an old nun's tale, almost in two ways. Miss Squires who told me the first version, was the sort of woman who would have been a nun if she could. She ran a small private school, and as someone who knew her told me, if she didn't teach me to read (which she didn't), she would certainly have taught me the saints' days. She was a devoted High Anglican, and took her pupils to church on church festivals. The church was St Mary and St Eanswythe's at Folkestone, and St Eanswythe is the nun with the story. What Miss Squires told us was how the saint had made water run uphill for the nuns at her convent, and how the miracle was still working. Naturally I was curious about this. There was a pond supposedly fed by this water, but it was a very dank and gloomy spot. I wanted to go and investigate, but was too young to do so. I still remember my seven-year-old logic (flawed, because of only knowing Congregationalist history). I knew that people in the Bible had done miracles, and I knew that Eanswythe had lived much closer to Bible times than I did, so I supposed that she might have done a miracle. I was very dubious about it still working, but if it was, I really wanted to see it. When I grew old enough to walk around the town by myself, I made a beeline for the pond, but sadly it had been turned into a garden with a rectangular fishpond in the middle. No water was flowing in or out, and there was a dead newt floating upside down in it. I was deeply disappointed. But Miss Squires hadn't told us enough. She hadn't told us that the source of the water wasn't in the valley below, but a few miles away at the foot of the local hills, and that the water had flowed along a ditch along the contours of the land, close by the end of her school's garden. What had happened back then in Saxon times was that Eanswythe, a princess, had persuaded her father to set up a convent for her to be abbess of (at 18 or so!), and then had found that her nuns were spending too long fetching water. She went, said the story, to the spring, dipped her crozier in the water, and it followed her back to the convent. Part way along the journey she crossed a small valley, and the water followed her down one side, across the stream at the bottom, and up the other side, without the water mixing. And the water did indeed continue to flow, though not until my childhood. It was the Town Ditch, providing water until the beginning of this century, when the local water works provided piped water. As to the valley crossing, on another of my trips, I saw what I took for a mill leat projecting out from the side of that small valley and pouring water into the stream at the bottom. It was what was left from that continuously maintained aqueduct. No miracle, but engineering. And by a Saxon (or Jutish) teenage girl. (She died from nursing victims of plague in her twenties.) Now that's a nun's tale worth the telling.

Penny


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Subject: Twelve Days of Christmas - birds or religion?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Jan 01 - 07:30 PM

At our song circle last week, somebody brought in a clipping that explained the putative religious meaning of "The Twelve Days of Christmas." The source of the information was "the Internet" - which, of course, means that the information must be true. If you do a Google search for "Twelve Days of Christmas," you'll find the story repeated over and over.

So far, I have found no credible resource that states that this song has a religious meaning. Here's what's in the Shorter New Oxford Book of Carols:
The song is found in different forms in broadsides from the eighteenth century onward, and derives from a traditional Twelfth-Night forfeits game in which each person was required to recite a list of objects named by the previous player and add one more. The tune (one of many) reached its modern standard form only in 1909, with the inspired addition of the phrase to which "five gold rings" is sung...
The pear tree is probably from the French perdrix (partridge); the cally- (or colly-) birds are blackbirds, the gold rings possibly a corruption of "goldspinks" (Scottish dialect for goldfinches) or "gulderer" (a gulder-cock is a turkey).
So, as you can see, the New Oxford Book of Carols sticks to an ornithological interpretation of the song, with nothing to do with religion. Sounds a lot more credible to me.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD Twelve Days
From: Haruo
Date: 11 Jan 01 - 10:00 PM

I posted an explanation of The 12 Days in this past Advent's "Favorite Christmas Music" thread. The text I posted is an elaboration of the Zorro one (which I had not seen at that point); but the odd thing was the religious source: it was from the program notes of a Presbyterian Christmas concert I had just gone to. I thought (and still think) it was odd to see the Presbyterians promulgating such a traditional-Catholic slant on English history. Subsequently I found a Catholic website from which (or from a common source) the Presbyterians had lifted their text entire and without credit. But there was a lot of rather scattered comment on the 12 Days in that thread, so Penny S (are you the same as the Penny without an S in the Zorro thread?) might skim through it to see if any of it is worth preserving.

Liland


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD Twelve Days
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Jan 01 - 11:07 PM

Well, Liland, I remain a Doubting Thomas. I'm still looking for credible sources of the purported religious explanation of the twelve days of Christmas. I heard the story last year in a sermon given by a Jesuit priest. When I questioned his sources, he admitted he hadn't checked their accuracy - and we got a good laugh out of it. So far, I haven't found a single one - it all seems to trace back to pious platitudes posted on the Internet.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD Twelve Days
From: Burke
Date: 12 Jan 01 - 09:11 PM

Part of the problem with that 'Roman Catholic' attribution is that most of the doctrines covered are common to Protestant belief. Who needs a code word for Jesus Christ or 10 commandments? It's not like Turtle Dove, etc. make you think of the testaments, or whatever, as a menomic device, either.


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD Twelve Days
From: Haruo
Date: 12 Jan 01 - 11:28 PM

I agree, the Twelve Days of Christmas is not a catechism or a catechetical mnemonic. Indeed, there's no need to posit any religious content or intent beyond the fact that the number 12 is of religious significance, though in this case it may mean no more than "the number of days in Christmas". The New Dial and Green Grow the Rushes O, however, seem much more replete with religious imagery (though I'm not sure the latter would do much good as a catechetical device.) Incidentally, I know "three" in "Green Grow the Rushes O" as "Three, three, the Rivals" (which is certainly not good Catholicism if describing the Persons of the Trinity), and "eleven" as "'Leven for the 'leven went up to heaven", with no hint of zillions of dead virgins. And the Esperanto version (by John Wells) has "Tri, la Rivaloj" (again, Rivals, not arrivals).

Liland


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD Twelve Days
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jan 01 - 03:44 PM

I am thoroughly convinced that the "religious explanation" of "12 Days" is incorrect. However, the story is amazingly widespread - I've found it on the Internet, in print, and even in a Christmas sermon. It has come to the point where I sometimes find it dangerous to question the veracity of the story. At a song circle a week ago, somebody read the "12 Days" explanation from a newspaper article, and I dared to question it. Three highly indignant women took every opportunity to attack me for the rest of the evening. They even refused to sing along when I suggested we sing "Blow Ye Winds in the Morning" - because they found it offensive to whales. I'm lucky to have escaped that song circle alive.

Pious people can get downright mean when the object of their piety is questioned. I suppose we all have mythologies we hold sacred.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD Twelve Days
From: Penny S.
Date: 14 Jan 01 - 05:10 AM

Liland, that was me. Before I found another Penny posting and needed to distinguish us.

Penny


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