Monday, January 05, 2009

Christmas: Day 12 (St Telesphorus)

"On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, twelve drummers drumming..."

Today is the twelfth and last day of Christmastide. No, it's not Epiphany, which had its own octave before the calendar reforms of 1955, and has its own "tide" running for several weeks. On the other hand, the celebration known as "Twelfth Night" is not on the night of Epiphany, but the night before. You know, the vigil. Now then...

Today on the traditional Roman calendar, we remember St Telesphorus, a Pope and martyr of the second century who doesn't sound like a Catholic household name. Then again, tradition has given him credit for the Christmas Midnight Mass, the Sunday celebration of Easter, the Lenten season as we more or less know it today, and the singing of the Gloria at Mass. (Historians tend to doubt all this, by the way, but that's the word that got around.) There is also the town of Saint-Télesphore in southwestern Quebec, which is named for him.

Not too shabby.

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