Sunday, December 26, 2010

The 12 Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas are the days from Christmas until the beginning of Epiphany (January 6th; the 12 days count from December 25th until January 6th). On the updated calendar — since Epiphany is celebrated on a Sunday — these days may be more or less. 
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. 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. In some cultures Epiphany is observed as Three Kings Day, or simply the Day of the Kings. Even though December 25th is celebrated as Christmas in these cultures, Epiphany 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. 
We have for many years celebrated the 12 days of Christmas in our home. Originally we liked the fact that  by focusing on these extra days after Christmas day it helps children (and parents) realise the fact that the Christmas Season extends beyond simply Christmas Day.

While their are many explanations for the reason of WHY we use the symbols to represent the 12 days of Christmas as sung in the Carol
The most common has it's  focus on the Religious symbolism of The Twelve Days of Christmas~

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

Now I am sure there are many people who are far better at celebrating this than us in terms of actual relationship to the meanings of each day, using food and present. We mainly have the tradition of having Family presents for all to enjoy.

Each day the present is placed under the Christmas Tree and usually opened from youngest to oldest, each having a turn each day at unwrapping the present.

We have had differing focuses over the years on what we receive. These can be brought about by a  very tight budget or different interests of the family at the time.
Some of the focuses we have had are: sports and outdoor ideas, boardgames, DVDs of old TV series, books of course always each year regardless and other items that we just pick up because we like them.
We have almost built up our Asterix collection this way (only 5 more to go, hopefully this year we will complete it)

I have had many ideas on how we could use a countdown calender much like an Advent countdown or wreaths etc, ( perhaps I will do a part 2 on this) but I just usually run out of steam to actually make them to put the present or the clue to the present in.

Each year I would like to add some food related themes but again just find it a little hard to fit in. I actually have some great ideas written out and hope to post them over the 12 day period.

I hope you all have a blessed Christmastide this year.

Blessings to you and your homes,

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