Christmas Traditions–Epiphany–Three Kings Day

Happy Epiphany!  Happy Three Kings Day!

The Twelve Days of Christmas lead up to the celebration of Epiphany. This day actually marks the beginning of the season of Epiphanytide, known as the Octave of Epiphany, and runs from January 6-13. It is included liturgically in the Christmas Season, although these dates can vary on different calendars. Epiphany is the celebration of the arrival of the Three Kings to visit the Christ child. They came bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. It is considered to be a “celebration of revelation” as it is the day Jesus is revealed to the world. As the Christmas season ends, the faithful are called to go out into the darkness and witness to the light of the Christ child.

The Three Kings of Epiphany

This is considered to be the traditional day on which to take down Christmas decorations, although some have already this done on Twelfth Night. There are others, however, whose traditions dictate keeping decorations up until Candlemas on February 2, which is the Feast of the Purification and the Feast of the Presentation.

Epiphany celebrations hold some wonderful traditions. This is the day that many enjoy a King’s Cake which was discussed on Twelfth Night. One variation on the King’s Cake that is served on Epiphany is to put a small figurine of the Baby Jesus into the bottom of the cake. The person who receives the piece with the Baby Jesus in it is considered “King or Queen of the Day” and is the one who is supposed to hold a party or at least purchase the next King’s Cake. King’s Cakes are also a tradition of Mardi Gras which officially launches its season on Epiphany with parties held every Sunday until the Tuesday before Lent. King’s Cakes are often decorated with the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold. Purple standing for justice, green for faith, and gold for power.

Epiphany is also time for the traditional blessing of one’s home for the upcoming year which dates from the Middle Ages. The blessing is usually done by the head of the household. The present year and the letters “GMB” are written above the door in chalk and a prayer of blessing follows. They would be written for 2017: “20 + G + M + B + 17”. The letters stand for the three Wise Men who followed the star: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. It is also popularly believed the first letters of each word stands also for the Latin phrase “Christus mansionem benedicat” which means “May Christ bless this house”. The “+” signs represent the cross. This is a wonderful activity to do as a familyas a reminder of love and grace abiding in the home. While the chalk eventually does fade– the blessing remains.

Happy Three Kings Day!

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand!

~An Old Irish Blessing~

Marian McCoy Boveri

 

Photo:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_ngwozdeva’>ngwozdeva / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Christmas Traditions–Twelve Days of Christmas–History and Celebration

Celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas!

Using the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” to introduce each day, clicking on the picture will take you to an explanation of each day of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” history and celebration.  Here’s to enjoying the true Christmas Season!

The Twelve Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

 

On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

 

On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

 

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

 

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

 

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

 

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

 

On the eight day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

 

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

 

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

 

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

 

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

 

Merry Christmas!

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~An Old Irish Blessing~

Marian McCoy Boveri

——————

All photos:

Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Christmas Tradition–Twelve Days of Christmas–On the twelfth day…

The twelfth day of Christmas is celebrated as Twelfth Night. It is the eve of the Epiphany and the end of the Christmas season. Epiphany is the celebration of when the Three Wise Men arrived to visit the Christ child. Twelfth Night is a night of celebration and parties signifying the end of the Christmas season.

Central to the festivities is a King’s Cake. In some places the King’s Cake is baked on the Twelfth Night and served on Epiphany. In other traditions it is eaten on this night. King’s Cake is believed to have originated in France sometime in the 12th century. The cake was made in the shape of a circle to portray the circular route that the Kings took so as not to disclose the location of the Christ child. King’s Cakes were originally made with flour, egg, butter, spices, and sometimes fruit.

A dried bean was baked into the cake and whoever received the piece with the bean in it was considered “King” for the evening. The “King” would choose his “Queen” and both would reign for the evening directing others to do their bidding. Sometime during the Georgian period, circa 1714-1830, a dried pea was added to the cake as well so that the woman who received the pea would then become “Queen”.

Another tradition of this night was to drink “Wassail” a drink that was originally made of mulled ale, curdled cream, roasted apples, eggs, cloves, nutmeg and sugar. The drink was served in huge bowls usually made of silver or pewter. Great ceremony was involved in bringing the “Wassail” bowl into the room for serving and celebration.

Tradition holds that this is the last day in the celebration of the Christmas season. As with all nights contained within the Christmas season, Christmas carols were sung. The Christmas carol, “We Three Kings” is a good carol to sing on this night. Tradition also held the lighting of the Christmas Tree and Christmas Candle every evening during the Twelve Days of Christmas. It is considered tradition to light the way for the Wise Men on this night. It is also a night in which the Three Wise Men are placed next to the Manger.

Merry Christmas!

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~An Old Irish Blessing~

Marian McCoy Boveri

—————–

Day 1:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 2:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 3:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 4:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 5:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 6:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 7:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 8:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 9: Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 10:Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 11: Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 12:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

 

 

 

Christmas Traditions–Twelve Days of Christmas–On the eleventh day…

The eleventh day of Christmas is the feast day of St. Simeon the Stylite in the tradition of the early Church (also celebrated January 5 and September 1 on different liturgical calendars). It is also the feast day of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who is considered to be the first American-born saint.

St. Simeon’s faith was influenced by hearing the Beatitudes when he was a young boy in the early 4th century. Upon coming of age he sought out the monastic life and devoted himself to extreme self-denial and prayer. So disciplined and extreme was he in his sacrifice that he was found unfit for community life. St. Simeon then went to live as a hermit. When he went the whole of lent without food or drink, it was considered to be miraculous.

There were so many who sought him for prayer and advice that the only way in which to remove himself from people was to build a pillar upon which to live. He would become the first of the pillar hermits. His pillar became a pilgrimage site in which many sought from him spiritual counsel, intervention, and prayer. St. Simeon devoted his life to prayer and self-sacrifice but also gave exhortations twice daily and his words brought many conversions. A series of pillars were built with the last being at least 50 feet high. He lived upon a pillar for the last 37-40 years of his life.

St. Elizabeth Seton was made a saint in 1975 with her feast day falling on this date. She is the first native-born American citizen to be made a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. Elizabeth was born into a wealthy family in New York in 1774. Her mother died three years after birth and her father remarried. This marriage ended in separation and Elizabeth was rejected by her step-mother and went to live with her Uncle. She married a wealthy businessman and had five children. Her husband died of tuberculosis complications brought on by the stress of bankruptcy in 1803 just nine years after their marriage. Having traveled to Italy for her husband’s health, after her husband’s death, the widow Elizabeth was taken in by a Catholic family and she converted shortly after her return to the U.S. in 1805.

In 1810 she founded the first Catholic school in America as well as the first American religious community for women, the Sisters of Charity, and the first American Catholic orphanage. She was a volunteer, wife, mother, friend of the poor, teacher, and servant to God. She lived her life by seeking the will of God and attending to daily life through living in the grace of the moment.

St. Simeon gave up worldly pleasures for the divine. This reminds us of the simplicity in which the Christ child was born into. St. Elizabeth lost her wealth and was left as a poor widow who then dedicated her life to doing God’s will. This reminds us of the purpose of Christ’s birth. Take time today to celebrate the Christmas season in a simple way. Tradition holds that gathering together with family and friends is the main focus of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Reading a Christmas story together is a beautiful way to gather in celebration of the season.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me…

~eleven pipers piping…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~An Old Irish Blessing~

Marian McCoy Boveri


Day 1:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a

Day 2:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 3:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 4:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 5:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 6:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 7:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 8:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 9:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 10:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 11:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

 

 

 

Christmas Tradition–Twelve Days of Christmas–On the tenth day…

The tenth day of Christmas is celebrated as the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus on some liturgical calendars and is also the feast day of St. Genevieve. The observance of the memorial of the Holy Name of Jesus is sometimes celebrated on other dates in various churches including January 1. The placement of this memorial during the Christmas season serves as a reminder once again of the reason for the season.

Reverence for the Holy Name of Jesus can certainly be traced to apostolic times. The popularity of its devotion became prominent in the late 12th century when an emphasis was placed on the need for the faithful to have a special devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. This devotion was spread through Cistercian monks and nuns as well as Dominican preachers who taught specifically on the power of the name of Jesus.

Another Dominican preacher, St. Bernardine of Sienna and his student, St. John Capistrano, is considered to have largely promoted this devotion in the early 15th century. St. Bernardine used this devotion in his preaching throughout Italy to help overcome class struggles and ease family rivalries especially involving vendettas. The first known official celebration of a feast day to the Holy Name of Jesus was held in 1530 by the Franciscans.

St. Genevieve is a French saint who lived from circa 419 to 512. At the young age of seven a prophecy was made by St. Germaine that through the example of her life many would be brought to faith. She is credited with saving the city of Paris from being attacked by Atilla the Hun when she implored the inhabitants of France to remain rather than flee and devote themselves to prayer and penance. The approaching army turned towards another city and left Paris untouched. She was also known for her self-sacrifice and charity.

It is tradition on this day to reflect upon the Holy Name of Jesus and what His birth meant to the world. Tradition holds singing Christmas carols during the Twelve Days of Christmas. This would be a good day to sing Christmas carols to remind us once again that we are still within the Christmas season. In celebration of this day take a moment to remind children that the name of Jesus is to be treated with respect and that it is in itself considered a powerful prayer.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

~ten lords a leaping...

~ten lords a leaping…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~An Old Irish Blessing~

Marian McCoy Boveri

——————

Day 1:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 2:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 3:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 4:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 5:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 6:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 7:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 8:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 9:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 10:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Christmas Traditions–Twelve Days of Christmas–On the ninth day…

The ninth day of Christmas is the feast day of St. Basil the Great (his feast day is also celebrated on January 1 on some liturgical calendars) and St. Gregory Nazianzen (also known as Gregory the Theologian). They were both bishops in the 4th century. St. Basil and St. Gregory attended school together and developed a friendship that ultimately shaped Christian theology. They shared a common resolve to be of service to God while leaving worldly pleasures behind. St. Basil was a powerful defender and advocate for the Nicene Creed which stands as the symbol of faith widely used in Christian liturgy to this day. He was known as a prominent and influential Christian theologian as well as for his charity and care of the poor and underprivileged. St. Basil founded several monasteries and was instrumental in the establishment of guidelines for monastic life such as focus on community living, prayer, and manual labor. He is remembered as one of the great teachers of the Church.

St. Gregory Nazianzen was also a prominent and influential Christian theologian, especially in the doctrine of the Trinitarian theology. He is also known for his great charity as he devoted most of his large inheritance to the care of the poor. He was responsible for the preservation of faith in Constantinople despite being slandered, assaulted, and having a rival Bishop attempt to take over his Diocese. When St. Gregory retired, he spent his remaining years writing. He was considered one of the finest orators of his time.

It is a tradition to bake sweet bread that has a coin in it, bless the baked bread, and serve it to the family on St. Basil’s feast day. This is sometimes referred to as the “Vasilopita” which translates to “Sweet Bread of Basil.” Tradition holds that the person who receives the coin is commissioned to preserve St. Basil’s work of helping the poor as well as to be especially blessed for the New Year. The tradition of placing coins into sweet bread dates back to the 4th century. In order to preserve the dignity of the poor so that it did not look like charity, St. Basil had coins baked into bread and then distributed. While cutting into the bread for nourishment the people then received a pleasant surprise.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me…

~nine ladies dancing...

~nine ladies dancing…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until we meet again, may Gold hold you in the palm of His hand.

~An Old Irish Blessing~

Marian McCoy Boveri

 

——————

Day 1:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 2:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 3:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 4:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 5:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 6:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 7:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 8:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 9:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Christmas Tradition–Twelve Days of Christmas…On the eighth day…

HAPPY NEW YEAR! The eighth day of Christmas is New Year’s Day as well as the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God and the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ. The celebration of Mary as the mother of Jesus can be traced back to as early as 431 AD. This day has undergone different names throughout history and was originally known as the Anniversary of the Mother of God. By the 7th century it was known as the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As other feasts to Mary were placed on the calendar, January 1 came to be known as the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ sometime in the 13th century. This would have been the day that the Christ child was circumcised in accordance with Jewish tradition.

In the 18th century a feast honoring Mary as the Mother of God was once again put on the calendar in various churches on the first Sunday of May then moved to October 11 in 1914. Mary’s feast day as Mother of God was returned to its original date of January 1 in the General Roman Calendar as the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God in 1974. However, January 1 is still referred to as the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ on other liturgical calendars. It is also the last day in the Octave of Christmas.

The celebration of New Year’s Day goes back at least to 2000 BC but it was originally celebrated mid-March. The first time it was celebrated on January 1 was in 153 BC in Rome. New Year’s Day was celebrated on various dates thereafter but in 1582 the Gregorian calendar restored it to January 1. New Year’s Day is traditionally seen as a day that marks a clean slate—a day to begin anew. As such it is traditional to make New Year’s resolutions meant to improve one’s life. It is a day that is believed to set the tone for the rest of the year. Traditions include hospitality and gathering with family and loved ones and it is common to hold an open house.

The serving of certain foods that are seen as bringing good luck for the New Year is also another common tradition. Some of these foods include: Grapes representing sweetness and good fortune eaten in twelve or thirteen for each month of the year and one for good luck; greens representing paper money; black-eyed peas or legumes representing coins; cornbread representing gold; pork symbolizing prosperity and progress; fish symbolizing abundance; noodles symbolizing long life; and cakes or foods shaped in a circle symbolizing the year in its fullness.

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love sent to me…

~eight maids a milking...

~eight maids a milking…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the Palm of His hand.

~An Old Irish Blessing~

Marian McCoy Boveri

——————

Day 1:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 2:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 3:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 4:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 5:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 6:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 7:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 8:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Christmas Tradition–The Twelve Days of Christmas–On the seventh day…

The seventh day of Christmas is New Year’s Eve and also the Feast of St. Sylvester I who was one of the earliest Popes and served from 314 to 335 AD. In many eastern European countries this last day of the year is called “Sylvester”. St. Sylvester was Pope during an era in which the Christian Church was able to come out of hiding and into a time of peace after much turbulence and persecution. He was a friend of Emperor Constantine, the first Christian ruler of Rome. St. Sylvester also founded the Rome school of singing which was established to preserve and pass on the songs and melodies of old tradition.

New Year’s Eve is a time of hospitality and social gathering in anticipation of welcoming in the New Year. It is a time of watch to usher out the old, let go of the past, and welcome in the new. One way of welcoming in the New Year is to kiss the one you love (or even the one nearest you) as a way of bringing good luck. This tradition originates in the kiss being a greeting and the New Year’s kiss then being an offering of a blessing or protection. In former days, the New Year was often a time of entering into a vulnerable season in which survival was difficult.

Another tradition is to offer a toast to welcome in the New Year and all its promises. One of the traditions of “Sylvester” is drinking punch which originated as a drink in the early 1600s. This is a great way to have a special drink to toast in the New Year as it is both festive and easy to make in large quantities. This would be a good time to take a moment to express gratitude for the blessings of the past year and to wish peace and prosperity upon the coming year.

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me…

~seven swans a swimming...

~seven swans a swimming…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~An Old Irish Blessing~

Marian McCoy Boveri

——————

Day 1:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 2:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 3:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 4:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 5:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 6:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 7:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Christmas Traditions–The Twelve Days of Christmas–On the sixth day…

The sixth day of Christmas is the Feast of St. Egwin of Worcester who died on this day circa 717 AD. He was the Bishop of Worcester as well as the founder of one of the greatest Benedictine monasteries of the Middle Ages in Evesham, England. He was known as a protector of orphans and widows as well as a fair judge. In addition, the Feast of the Holy Family sometimes falls on this date. Keeping in mind St. Egwin’s role as protector of orphans and widows and his enforcement of Christian principles including marriage, enjoining the celebration of his feast on this sixth day of Christmas with the Feast of the Holy Family is quite fitting.

The first use of the term “Holy Family” in reference to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph is attributed to St. Bernardine of Siena circa 1440 but did not come into common usage until the early part of the 17th century. Prior to this the Holy Family was referred to as the “earthly Trinity”. This was due to the fact that the concept of family as we know it today did not really emerge until the 17th century. Prior to this the word “family” was used interchangeably with the word “household”. Anyone living under the authority of the same head of the house was considered to be “family”. This included relatives as well as servants. In addition, it also pertained to groups including noblemen or even the staff of military officers.

St. Egwin would therefore have had a large “family” as he was in charge of a monastery. As can happen in families, discipline is not always accepted and this was the case with St. Egwin. His ways were seen as overly strict and complaints were filed against him with Rome. St. Egwin then made a journey to Rome shackled in ankle chains as penance for any wrongdoing he may have done. He was found to have done no wrong and returned to the monastery. Correcting improper behavior can often be met with opposition, but it is necessary for the growth and strength of a family.

Traditionally, the family is where one learns values. This is a great day to take time to reflect upon your family culture. Evaluate which activities support your values and which activities could be added to further enrich your family life. Take time to do something today that is special to your family. It is a great day to have a family feast or serve a dish that celebrates your family’s uniqueness. Gather together and have each member share something they enjoy about their family.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me…

~six geese a laying...

~six geese a laying…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~An Old Irish Blessing~

Marian McCoy Boveri

——————

Day 1:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 2:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 3:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 4:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 5:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 6:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann‘>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Christmas Traditions–The Twelve Days of Christmas–On the fifth day…

The fifth day of Christmas is the Feast of St. Thomas Becket who was the Archbishop of Canterbury and martyred on this date in 1170 AD. St. Thomas Becket was at one time the chancellor to King Henry II and the two became good friends as they both shared mutual interests as well as a love of luxury. Soon after being named Archbishop, St. Thomas began to change his outlook on life by giving up his former indulgences and focusing on penance and prayer. Though the history regarding the eventual murder of St. Thomas is quite in-depth, including his exile and return; it involves his standing up against the absolute powers of the King in the matters of the Church.

We must remember that in St. Thomas’ time, people had few fundamental liberties. In addition, the Church offered certain protections to widows and orphans contained within their laws and proceedings. Therefore people regarded the Church as leading the cause of standing up against unfair, unjust, and sometimes brutal rule. The very precepts of the authority of the Church were being challenged by King Henry II.

St. Thomas’ brutal murder was met with an outcry across Europe and almost immediately the site of his death became a place of pilgrimage. In fact Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales was written about a pilgrimage to the very church where St. Thomas was martyred. It is said that St. Thomas displayed the virtue of perseverance and fought for the protection of others. He is known as the saint of courage.

Tradition holds a hallowed time between Christmas and Epiphany. An ancient tradition during this time is to go from house to house singing carols. While there are no set traditions for this fifth day of Christmas, St. Thomas was martyred during evening vespers, a time of prayer begun by singing. Gathering together with family and friends to participate in the tradition of caroling would fit well into the celebration of the fifth day of Christmas.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me…

~five gold rings...

~five gold rings…

 

 

 

 

 

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~An Old Irish Blessing~

Marian McCoy Boveri

——————

Day 1:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann’>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 2:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann’>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 3:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann’>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 4:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann’>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 5:  Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_eireann’>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>