Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Twelfth Day of Christmas

"On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...twelve drummers drumming"...and so we come to the last  of the set of Christmas ornaments. Today, Christmas Day, would actually be the first day of Christmas with Twelfth Night being Epiphany. For the party, these are twelve musicians to join the pipers. In the religious interpretation, they stand for the twelve points of the Apostle's Creed. However,  it seems highly likely that the religious interpretation is a much more modern idea - sort of an Urban Myth that keeps getting repeated. So let's look at the accumulated goodies- 12 partridges - no doubt some for the feast, 12 pear trees for a small orchard,  22 turtle-doves as symbols of romance- in 11 cages. No mention of a maid to clean all those cages. 30 French Hens and innumerable eggs. 36 "colly" birds ready to be baked into pies.  40 gold rings- 4 for each finger? Or-  as another interpretation has it, 40 golden ring -necked pheasants -which would have the first seven gifts all birds. The pheasants would be roasted for the feast too.  42 geese and more eggs again. 42 swans and at least a small lake. We hope a swan-keeper  was part of the deal. 40 milkmaids with 40 cows - and possibly some spoiled milk.  36 dancing ladies- maybe a corps de ballet or maybe a chorus line.  30 lords doing a lot of leaping. 22 pipers with a lot of wailing pipes - and 12 drummers trying to keep the pipers and dancers to a a beat.....and so to all... Merry Christmas!

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