Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Third Day of Christmas

It's the 3rd day of Christmas, the first day being Christmas Day 25 December. There are 12 days of Christmas and they've only just begun. Or did you think that Christmas is already over this year? 

This 3rd Day of Christmas is the day when according to the song '12 Days of Christmas' someone's true love gave him or her yet another gift to add to the previously given 'partridge in a pear tree' (1st day) and '2 turtle doves (2nd day). The 3rd day gift is '3 French Hens', hence the photo of 3 Faverolles Limoges which I believe are genuinely French hens. 

I think that the '12 Days of Christmas' song is probably a pure nonsense rhyme, composed and passed on just for fun, probably in France. The English language version was first published in England in 1780, without music and may have been chanted as a children's game, or sung to a variety of tunes. The standard sung version most British people know today was an arrangement by Frederick Austin published in 1909 and based on an old folk melody.

It is alleged by some that the '12 Days of Christmas' chant or song originated as a way to teach the basics of Christian faith. That may or may not be so, although I can see it could have been used for that purpose. In that case the 'three french hens' in the song 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' can represent the Christian virtues of faith, hope and love (cf 1 Corinthians 13). What a wonderful gift those are! The 'my true love' of the song could be a disguised reference to God. The 2 turtle doves given on the second day can represent the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible. The Partridge in a Pear Tree given on the 1st day may symbolise Jesus Christ. For what the gifts of the other days signify in this scenario see the article 12 Days of Christmas.

There does not seem to much historical evidence for the use of the '12 Days of Christmas' song for the purpose of Christian teaching. I'm not convinced by the assertion that that during the English Protestant Reformation it was a secret way for Catholics in fear of persecution to teach the traditions of the faith. In the explanations I have found of what the various gifts are meant to signify, they all refer to beliefs held in common by Protestants and (Roman) Catholics.

I think I will stick to enjoying the '12 Days of Christmas' song as a fun song for a seasonal celebration. Here's one version to enjoy with a glass or something or another seasonal nibble. Enjoy it! After all the Christmas celebration has several more days to run yet.




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