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=’’>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 2:  Copyright: <a href=’’>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 3:  Copyright: <a href=’’>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 4:  Copyright: <a href=’’>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Day 5:  Copyright: <a href=’’>eireann / 123RF Stock Photo</a>