12 days of Christmas, it’s Jesus, not the partridges in the pear trees


Most people know the song of the 12 days of Christmas, but in some Christian denominations the 12 days has less to do with partridges in pear trees and geese laying eggs and more to do with the events celebrating the birth of Christ. .

The four weeks leading up to Christmas is a time called Advent, said Father James Smith, parish vicar of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Hattiesburg.

“Advent is a season of preparation for Christmas which allows us to reflect on the two comings of Jesus in our world: in his incarnation and his birth as a man and finally at the end of time as judge and lord glorious, ”Smith said in an email. .

The 12 days begin on Christmas Day and end on January 6, which is known as Three Kings Day or Epiphany.

The Three Kings celebration commemorates the arrival of the men who saw the Star of Bethlehem and brought gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh to the baby Jesus.

Actual dates may vary from church to church, but the purpose of the celebration is the same.

“Christmas is not just a day but a season,” said Smith. “So Catholics should not tear down their Christmas decorations on December 26, but should celebrate this beautiful holiday with the church, respecting the season.”

Father Tommy Conway of St. Fabian Catholic Church said events in the church are never celebrated in one day.

“We’re spending 40 days (Lent) getting ready for Easter,” Conway said in an email. “Then we celebrate Easter for 50 days. We spend 30 days (Advent) preparing for Christmas. And then we celebrate Christmas for 12 days until Epiphany (sometimes called “Little Christmas”). our Savior Jesus Christ. “

Conway said the Christmas focus has shifted over the years to a more secular holiday. Like the song “12 Days”, the month before Christmas was spent shopping for gifts and decorating for the holidays instead of reflecting on the birth of Jesus.

“Because of the business side of things it just got harder and harder to keep those seasons going,” said Conway.

Each day between Christmas and Ephiphany has a special meaning and honors an event or person whose efforts to preserve Christianity have not always been welcome.

Father Michael Marascalco, pastor of St. Francis Xavier parish in Wiggins, said Catholics in England were not allowed to practice their faith by law, either in private or in public, from the mid-16th century century at the beginning of the 19th century.

“Indeed, it was a crime to be Catholic,” Marascalco said in an email. “‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ was written in England as one of the catechism songs to help young Catholics learn the principles of their faith without fear of being accused of being Catholic.”

Episcopalians, Orthodox Christians, and Lutherans also honor those who stood up for their beliefs during the Christmas season.

“These 12 days help Christians remember that the life of faith is full of challenges and hardships, but also contains many reasons to celebrate as we remember the heroes and heroines of the church, and more importantly , of our Lord and Savior, ”Lutheran missionary Cory Driver said in an article on the Living Lutheran website.

12 days of Christmas

Day 1: Christmas Day celebrates the birth of Jesus.

Day 2 (Boxing Day): St. Stephen’s Day, considered the first Christian martyr.

Day 3: St John the Apostle.

Day 4: Feast of the Holy Innocents, when people remember the little boys King Herod killed while trying to find and kill the Baby Jesus.

Day 5: Saint Thomas Becket. He was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 12th century and was killed for challenging the king’s authority over the church.

Day 6: St Egwin from Worcester.

Day 7: New Year’s Eve. Pope Sylvester I is traditionally celebrated on this day.

Day 8: Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

Day 9: Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory of Nazianze.

Day 10: Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. This remembers when Jesus was officially “appointed” in the Jewish temple. The day is celebrated by different churches on different dates.

Day 11: Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American saint.

Twelfth day (Epiphany Eve): Saint John Neumann who was the first bishop of America.

January 6 Epiphany (Little Christmas): the day the three kings brought gifts to the baby Jesus.

Source: WhyChristmas.com

Do you have a story to share? Contact Lici Beveridge at lbeveridge@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter @licibev or Facebook at facebook.com/licibeveridge.