The Twelve Days of Christmas
In Spring and Summer the garden wreaths itself in a splendor all its own; but in winter, when all the world lies sleeping beneath a blanket of snow, it falls to us to create the splendor at Christmas. As the world descends into darkness, we light a light.
The "Twelve Days" project is a plan for turning the garden into a tableau of the items named in the popular Christmas song, arrayed along the garden paths, to be displayed from Christmas to Epiphany. The designs were unveiled two years ago on facebook and in the Library's Garden Window, and they will be re-posted each year, each on its own day. A single page version of the 12 Days is pictured below. Copies suitable for coloring are available at the Library for anyone who would like to have one.
Last year we unveiled the first full scale, full color 1st Day of Christmas - the Partridge on a pear (see below). Each year more will be added to the display until the entire dozen is complete.
The story behind the song's seemingly non-sensical lyrics is that it was a mnemonic device (a memorization tool) used as a catechetical aid by priests during times when the Church was suppressed and forced into hiding. It is a hold over from the days of altar rocks and hedge row masses, back when one could be hung for being a priest, or for giving sanctuary. The "gifts" are a kind of a code each symbolizing some article of faith and each and every one of them coming from God the Father who in the song is called "My True Love". The symbols are explained briefly in the green box below with a more detailed discussion next to the full versions as they are completed.
On The First Day of Christmas
My True Love Gave To Me...
A Partridge In a Pair Tree
On The Second Day of Christmas...
Two Turtle Doves
The Old and New Testament
On The Third Day of Christmas...
Three French Hens
The Cardinal Virtues
On The Fourth Day of Christmas...
Four Calling Birds
The Four Gospels
On The Fifth Day of Christmas...
Five Golden Rings
On The Sixth Day of Christmas...
Six Geese A Laying
The Six Days of Creation
On The Seventh Day of Christmas...
Seven Swans A Swimming
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
On The Eighth Day of Christmas...
Eight Maids A Milking
On The Ninth Day of Christmas...
Nine Ladies Dancing
The Fruits of the Holy Spirit
On The Tenth Day of Christmas...
Ten Lords A Leaping
The Ten Commandments
On The Eleventh Day of Christmas...
Eleven Pipers Piping
The Eleven Faithful Apostles
On The Twelfth Day of Christmas...
Twelve Drummers Drumming
The Lines of the Apostles Creed
The Partridge in the Pear Tree symbolizes Christ, the Word Incarnate, the second person of The Holy Trinity, Emmanuel, God with us.
The Partridge is a bird that is known to sacrifice itself to save its young. The word Partridge in French is "perdrix"; pronounced "peartree"