Friday, December 21, 2012

Eighth Day of Christmas

"On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me- eight maids a-milking..." This is one that has a lot of possible interpretations beyond being a decoration based on a traditional song. In the religious interpretation, this refers to the eight Beatitudes (or "blessings") which were teachings of Jesus as set out in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. The condition is stated and the result to make a teaching. We are told of the benefits of being a peacemaker, merciful or pure of heart, for example. If we are thinking of bestowing wealth through the gifts, then owning that many cows would really be a sign of wealth. On the feasting aspect, milk was not a common drink as it spoiled easily and there was no refrigeration in those days. So, it would have been a treat at a feast. Incidentally, the cows then might have been more likely to have been Jersey or Guernsey but I thought the Holstein was more decorative. If there was too much celebration, it is said that a bath in milk is an excellent way to overcome a hangover.  Then there is another possible meaning. Since the feast and festivities often led to romance, there was often a lot of hanky-panky away from the eyes of chaperones. So, conversations as to who was willing to do what were a bit discreet - even if the following actions weren't.  Propositions had to be presented in such a way that a turn-down did not give offense but could be tossed aside as a "Well, I didn't really mean that, just thought you night want to look at the cows!" The term "a-milking" can mean more than dealing with cows.  The eighth day interpretation  is up to you.

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