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happy? – Jan 5 (old, old Christmas)

Abby Sale 05 Jan 06 - 08:01 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Jan 06 - 01:23 PM
CapriUni 05 Jan 06 - 01:44 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Jan 06 - 06:04 PM
GUEST,Joe_F 05 Jan 06 - 08:34 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Jan 06 - 10:58 PM
Abby Sale 05 Jan 06 - 11:08 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Jan 06 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,Joe_F 06 Jan 06 - 08:19 PM
Cluin 06 Jan 06 - 09:35 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Jan 06 - 10:54 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Jan 06 - 11:33 PM
GUEST,Joe_F 07 Jan 06 - 10:19 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 Jan 06 - 12:56 AM
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Subject: happy? – Jan 5 (old, old Christmas)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 05 Jan 06 - 08:01 AM


        On the fifth day of January my Birthday shall be
        When the stars and the elements shall tremble with fear,
        When the stars and the elements shall tremble with fear,

                "The Cherry Tree Carol"

Notes: Duncan Emrich, Lib. of Congress Anglo-American Songs & Ballads (AFS L14). Per "old style" reckoning, old Christmas became Jan 5 from 1752 to 1799. In 1800 another day dropped and it became Jan 6; in 1900 the same, to Jan 7. (2000 was a Gregorian leap year so both lost a day it's still Jan 7th. Old Christmas becomes Jan 8 in 2100.)   For most of folk song history, Twelfth Night, Epiphany and old Christmas were the same day, the sixth.

BTW, for UK and its colonies, last day Julian (OS) was Sept 2, 1752; the following day was Sept 14, 1752 Gregorian Calendar (NS)

Among much discussion of the origin of the story of the song (see Ballad Index, for example) I'd rather post some more human-oriented and interesting perceptions of it. Copying without permission comments of Jean Ritchie a few years back:

        A small observation, not provable- when we used to sing this ballad, around Chrismastime,
        the oldtimers would explain that, back when the calendar was changed, there was so much
        disagreement and arguments that someone actually added the verse, "On the sixth day of
        January my birthday shall be..." as an annonymous protest to the moving of Christmas to
        December 25. It makes sense, but is it true?

        I remember my Granny Catty Ritchie being still quite touchy on the subject of the
        Christmas date, and she ALWAYS observed Old Christmas, telling us in no uncertain terms
        that December 25th was just "a newfangled notion..."

        Another observation: "...while Joseph stood around," could refer to a command sometimes
        given to one's horse, to get him/her into position at the mounting block, or treestump,
        for a lady or child, for instance: "Here! Stand-around now! Stand-around!" The inferance
        here would be that the unborn infant Jesus was giving God's command to bring Joseph to
        obedience.   At least, being farmdwellers, we always just assumed that was what it meant,
        in the song.


Copyright © 2005, Abby Sale - all rights reserved
What are Happy's all about? See Clicky


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Subject: RE: happy? – Jan 5 (old, old Christmas)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Jan 06 - 01:23 PM

Many Ukrainians here in Alberta, the cooks busily preparing a feast for the evening of Jan. 6 (Christmas, Eastern Orthodox, Ukranian Orthodox Church). There are twelve meatless and dairy-free dishes to the Feast.
The first ritual dish is Kutia, sweetened wheat with walnuts, representing the stall of life and the spirit of Christ himself. Custom: a spoonful is cast up to the ceiling, and depending on how many kernels stick, the greater the good luck for the coming year.


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Subject: RE: happy? – Jan 5 (old, old Christmas)
From: CapriUni
Date: 05 Jan 06 - 01:44 PM

Q -- Kutia sounds delicious! I'm thinking the ceilings must not have been very high, though. Otherwise, whoever had the job of cleaning the ceiling the next day might not think that many grains sticking up there would be particularly good luck...

I don't know where my mother picked this up from, but she'd always told me that it was bad luck to keep your Christmas decorations up past January 6th. And we'd always tut at those houses we'd see beside the highway with Santa and Rudolf still on top come March.


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Subject: RE: happy? – Jan 5 (old, old Christmas)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Jan 06 - 06:04 PM

KUTIA- Alberta Ukrainian recipe
(column on the feast by Donna Gray, Calgary Herald)

1.5 cups wheat kernels, soaked iin warm water for 24 hours, and then strained (kernels)
4-5 cups water (traditional) or milk (more if necessary
3/4 cup poppy seeds
2/3 cup sliced roasted almonds (traditional), walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup raisins
2/3 cups dried apricots (optional)
Dash cinnamon
pinch salt, to taste.

Dry wheat in oven on a baking sheet at 250F for one hour, stirring occasionally. Once toasted, in a medium pot, combine wheat kernels and water/milk, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer three hours until kernels burst open.
Add more liquid as necessary to keep kernels covered.
In a separate bowl, scald the poppy seeds with some boiling water, drain, then add lukewarm water to cover. Soak 30 minutes, drain, and grind in a food processor. Set aside.
Drain water from wheat kernels and keep one cup of the liquid. Add the honey to the liquid and mix well.
Mix kernels, honey, ground poppy seeds, almonds, apricots, raisins and salt.
Bake in a two-quart baking dish, uncovered, at 325 F for 20 minutes. Serve warm or chilled, and sprinkled with cinammon.
Kutia tastes best when prepared several days ahead and can be refrigerated for up to two weeks.

KUTIA- Russian recipe
(from the internet; a little simpler)

1 cup whole wheat kernels
1/2 cup poppy seeds
1 cup honey
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
Pinch salt

Blanch the wheat with boiling water. Cover and let stand for one hour, then drain off water. Add enough cold water to cover about double, then cook, covered, over low heat until kernels are soft (3-4 hours).
Strain and cool. Blanch the poppy seeds with boiling water, allow to rest for 15 minutes and drain. Add cold water to cover and reheat to boiling. Cook for a few minutes and drain again.
Pour the seeds into a cotton towel and pat and squeeze dry. Mush the seeds in a blender until the mixture turns from slate to milky.
Combine wheat, poppy seeds, honey. Taste and season with salt as needed.
Add chopped walnuts and raisins. The consistency should be semi-liquid.
Serves 10.

The Ukrainians at their homesteads in Alberta raise their own poppies; the seed heads are large on what seems to be a selected variety of opium poppy. The seed is used in many recipes, prepared as above, or black in poppy-seed cake, etc.

Ceilings- variable in the old Ukrainian houses. The most important room in the house contains a large masonry, mortar and clay bake oven, the top flat and large enough for two or more people to sleep on. The heat from the oven warms the bed.The chimney is at the end opposite the oven opening and may be stepped. Attached to some of the houses and continuing the overhanging roofline may be a stable.

Most of the Ukrainians who settled on homesteads in central Alberta(c. 1900-1930) were peasants; their food and living style was basic. Their descendants, of course, are found in all the professions and businesses. Some remained on the farm, but the old houses have been replaced by typical N. Am. bungalows with all mod cons. A few have preserved their old houses and still bake wonderful breads in the old ovens. Many, even those who moved to the cities, keep the Orthodox Christmas and Easter.


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Subject: RE: happy? – Jan 5 (old, old Christmas)
From: GUEST,Joe_F
Date: 05 Jan 06 - 08:34 PM

Abby: So it isn't (or anyway needn't be) the American colloquialism "stood around" (scil. with his finger up his ass)? What a disappointment! That seemed so perfectly in the spirit of the original. It always gets a warm laugh at an American carol sing.

--- Joe Fineman    joe_f@verizon.net

||: "Chicken": a game played by delinquents in California and statesmen everywhere. :||


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Subject: RE: happy? – Jan 5 (old, old Christmas)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Jan 06 - 10:58 PM

Many versions of the "Christmas Tree Carol," some with sheet music, some with midis, at "Hymns and Carols of Christmas."
Index of Carols

Two versions in the DT, one citing the 6th of January. A version citing the 5th of January (Sharp, from Bronson) in thread 11760, with others; this is the Kentucky version from which the verse at the beginning of this thread was taken.
Mary and Joseph Cherry Tree


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Subject: RE: happy? – Jan 5 (old, old Christmas)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 05 Jan 06 - 11:08 PM

Q: sounds good. Send me some.

Joe: Yeah. Still, whether he's standing around because Jesus tells him to or because he's in a funk, he's still sommat befuddled by all this. And why not?

I've never read any studies on the song but I notice that Child's 4 versions don't mention this line. So maybe it's purely USian, after all.

They also don't mention the date of birth, just of death. I have the notion that the Jan 5 date actually dates the version to the period old Christmas was Jan 5 - from 1752 to 1799. Most versions I've seen that have a date of birth use Jan 6th. Doesn't really prove anything but that's my notion. (Ballad Index gives earliest printed as 1768 so maybe.)


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Subject: RE: happy? – Jan 5 (old, old Christmas)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Jan 06 - 02:54 PM

The 5th Jan. verse may have developed as an added modification of A, in Child (from Sandys 1833). The lines also appear in Child B:
'Upon Easter-day, mother, my uprising shall be;
O the sun and the moon, mother, shall both rise with me.'

The 5th Jan. verse was part of the carol collected by Sharp, MSS, 4081/2918; also in Sharp and Karpeles, 1932, I, p. 92, sung by William Wooten, Knott Co., KY, Sept. 21, 1917 (note from Bronson, Group Ad, 16, pp. 152-153, last verse.
Whether the version dates back to the use of the old calender or whether the singer was using a version from a much later historically-minded source, is unknown.
In any case, the 5th and the 6th Jan. verses seem to be North American only.

I don't have any information on the Davies Gilbert MS., 1767 (1768?), cited in The Traditional Ballad Index; this carol began "Joseph was an old man...". No further data. Hone (1823) in his version said nothing about dates (Joseph was a-walking...); an adapted version in The New Oxford Book of Carols (1992).

Sharp opined that the musical tradition began in the early 19th c. There are as many tunes as versions, according to Bronson.

The Oxford Book of Carols (1928) has another 'dated' Lenten version, but source not given:
And upon a Wednesday My vow I will make,
And upon Good Friday my death I will take.

And upon the third day My uprising shall be;
And the sun and the moon together shall rise up with me.

Biblically, the tree was a date palm. See Masato, thread 11760: Mary Josepy Cherry Tree


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Subject: RE: happy? – Jan 5 (old, old Christmas)
From: GUEST,Joe_F
Date: 06 Jan 06 - 08:19 PM

Abby: "Stand around" in the sense I was hoping for is definitely an Americanism. See OED s.v. around adv. and prop. 5b.

--- Joe Fineman    joe_f@verizon.net

||: In sleep, in confusion, in the depths of shame, The good deeds a man has done before defend him. :||


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Subject: RE: happy? – Jan 5 (old, old Christmas)
From: Cluin
Date: 06 Jan 06 - 09:35 PM

Old Christmas. That's when the tree comes down and the decorations get packed away for another year. Last of the cookies get gobbled up.


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Subject: RE: happy? – Jan 5 (old, old Christmas)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Jan 06 - 10:54 PM

Sir Walter Scott, in Ivanhoe: "Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe, said the gallant Outlaw, stepping forward, "my assurances can add nothing tyo those of our sovereign, yet let me say somewhat proudly that of men who have suffered much, he hath not truer subjects than those who stand around him."
Sir Walter Scott, in Ivanhoe: "You'd laugh to see the way she makes that Guvalu gang stand around.

Charles Dickens, David Copperfield: "These, while they exist in the mind as ideas, stand around us in nature forever embodied, a present sanity to expose and cure the insanity of men."


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Subject: RE: happy? – Jan 5 (old, old Christmas)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Jan 06 - 11:33 PM

Cut off before I added this recent one from the English "Guardian" newspaper: "The media stand around like confused cattle, unable to comprehend a change in their routine." Dan Glaister, "Waiting for Jacko," June 10, 2005. www.guardian.co.uk/arts/jackson/story/0,15763,1503681,00.html#article_continue

Stand around, stood around, undoubtedly are more common in North America, but they have a long history in the UK as well.
It should also be remembered that the 'Kentucky' version with 'stood around' dates from the Sharp collection of 1917; quite a late version. Perhaps Kytrad can put an earlier date on it.


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Subject: RE: happy? – Jan 5 (old, old Christmas)
From: GUEST,Joe_F
Date: 07 Jan 06 - 10:19 PM

Q: The examples you quote are of groups of things or people, which might be standing around in the literal sense of surrounding the object. That, indeed, seems the likely interpretation in the quotations from Scott & Dickens. With the Guardian example it is harder to tell, but it very likely the slangy American imputation of ineffectuality is intended; by 2005 the Brits must have heard quite a bit of it. But as to the song, with the singular Joseph standing around, unless Jean Ritchie's guess is right, that has to be American.

--- Joe Fineman    joe_f@verizon.net

||: Marriage is the most estimable of the sexual perversions. :||


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Subject: RE: happy? – Jan 5 (old, old Christmas)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 12:56 AM

I did not say that the Kentucky and North Carolina versions collected by Sharp and versions I and II in Emrich with 'stand around' are not originally American. As far as I know this version with the Jan 5-Jan 6 verses has never been found in the UK.

My post was meant to show that the expression 'stand around' is not exclusively American.


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