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21892The Twelve Days of Christmas

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  • isenhart7
    Jan 5, 2006
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      I noticed this note on our Christmas music tonight:

      "The Twelve days of Christmas-the days linking Christmas on December
      25 and the Epiphany on January 6 (when the three Magi offered the
      first Christmas presents-gold, frankencense, and myrrh) were declared
      a festal tide by the Council of Tours in 567. Since then it has been
      a time when noble and peasant alike put work aside and enjoyed an
      extended holiday of feasting, celebration, and sharing with others.
      It was considered bad luck to enter someone's home empty-handed.

      The courting song named for this religious holiday is actually quite
      pagan in tone and is the only carol we know that celebrates, in the
      form of a list, the Christmas tradition of gift-giving. It is said to
      date back to the thirteenth century manuscript in the Library of
      Trinity College, Cambridge, England. The carol appeared in print for
      the first time in a children's book entitled, "Mirth without
      Mischief," published in London about 1780.

      The "Twelve Days of Christmas" became very popular as a game song-
      usually played at a large gathering of children and adults on the
      Tweflth Day night, just before the eating of mince pie. With the
      company seated all around the room, the leader of the game began by
      singing the first day lines, which were then repeated by each of the
      company in turn. Then the first day lines were repeated with the
      addition of the second day lines by the leader, and this was repeated
      all in turn. This continued until all the lines of the twelve days
      were repeated by everyone. If anyone missed a line, they would have
      to forfeit something of theirs to the group."

      I looked up the Council of Tours and found this, just in from
      Washington(from the Center for Christian Statemanship)

      In 567 AD, at the Council of Tours, the church tried to reconcile a
      dispute between Western Europe and Eastern Europe. The West
      celebrated the feast of Christ's birth on Christmas day, December
      25th as it's major holiday, and the East celebrated this day, January
      6th as Epiphany, remembering the visit of the Wise Men and Jesus'
      baptism. Since no agreement could be reached on a specific date, the
      decision was made to have all 12 days between December 25th and
      January 6th designated "holy days" or as it was later
      pronounced "holidays." These became known as the "Twelve Days of
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