Happy Christmastide! Did you know the “Christmas season” for Catholics is not the weeks prior to Christmas (as advertisements would have us believe) ending on Christmas Day? Nope, we’re just getting started with the celebration!
Christmas Season in the Church begins on Christmas Day and lasts for 40 days, ending on February 2 (“Candlemas”). “Christmastide” is the 12 days following Christmas, including the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God on the Octave of January 1 and the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6 (traditionally anyway; in some countries Epiphany is observed on the Sunday nearest to January 6). Over on our sister site, Intentional Catholic Parenting, I’ve posted some great links to help your family celebrate the Solemnity of Mary and Epiphany, so check it out.
And for those of you who love trivia, here’s a fun little key to the 18th century song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” with suggestions for how the song teaches Catholic doctrine (from Ann Ball’s Catholic Sacramentals).
Partridge in a pear tree Jesus Christ, symbolized as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from helpless nestlings.
Two turtle doves Old & New Testaments
Three French Hens Faith, hope, charity
Four Calling birds The Four Gospels
Five Golden Rings The Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy)
Six geese a laying Six days of creation
Seven Swans a swimming 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Eight maids a-milking 8 Beatitudes
Nine Ladies Dancing Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
Ten Lords a-leaping 10 Commandments
Eleven pipers piping The 11 faithful disciples
12 drummers drumming 12 articles of the Apostles Creed