26 December 2012

The Second Day of Christmas

It's the second day of Christmas. I believe that calls for Two Turtle Doves. And yesterday, it was a Partridge. In a Pear Tree. Why a pear tree, one wonders? (Apart from the alliteration, of course. But then, why isn't it a quetzal in a quince tree, huh?) Partridges. Hmm. There's Mr Partridge in "Tom Jones" (the book, not the singer), who is accused of being Tom's father. He's the sort of chap who'd be quite liable to sit around in pear trees, being an odd sort of bird, and hungry half the time. But I don't think that's the Partridge the song is talking about.

Today also happens to be St Stephen's Day. You know, the one that Good-King-Wenceslas-looked-out-on-the-feast-of. Stephen, as you no doubt are fully aware, was the first Christian martyr; he got stoned to death because he had the temerity to be a do-gooder who handed out food and such-like to poor people on account of his strong faith in something other than what the establishment wanted him to have faith in, which was principally their authority and the bounden duty of everyone to acknowledge said authority as the be-all and end-all of life. Stephen wouldn't have none of it; he insisted on believing what he believed and carrying on with his do-goodery. And the powers-that-be didn't like that. So they decided to do away with him (silly them). St Stephen is rather a cool character, because he wasn't really all that heroic - he was just a kind, gentle man who refused to play ball with the bullies.

So I suppose the Turtle Doves are kind of apt for today's true love's gift, being the usual symbol of innocence and gentleness and so on - just like St Stephen himself.

Next up: Three French Hens, and the feast day of St John the Evangelist (St John the Baptist's Day being, of course, the summer solstice counterpoint to Christmas, celebrated on June 24th. If you listen carefully on that night, you can hear the animals speak in human language. Ditto for Christmas Eve, I think. But seeing as we've missed that opportunity for this year, we'll have to wait for Saint-Jean-Baptiste 2013 - there's always another opportunity, thankfully.).

And none of that has anything to do with Steve, who is named that just because "Steve is a nice name" (as you will know if you've ever watched "Over the Hedge").

Life, the Universe, and the Twelve Days of Christmas. Happy St Stephen's Day!

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