The period known as Christmastide begins with the Feast of the Nativity itself; specifically, with the evening of that first day, through the morning of the Feast of the Epiphany. And so the first day of Christmas is December 25-26, and the season ends with Twelfth Night on January 5-6. By tomorrow, you will stop hearing Christmas music on some radio stations, but at Chez Alexandre, whether here or on the road, as well as here at mwbh, the Christmas season is just beginning.
Most of us are familiar with the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas," and the significance of the symbolism therein. But for those who do not...
Twelve Drummers Drumming refers to the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed
Eleven Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles
Ten Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandments
Nine Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
Eight Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudes
Seven Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, and/or the seven sacraments
Six Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation
Five Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
Four Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists.
Three French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues.
Two Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testaments.
One Partridge in a Pear Tree refers to Christ on Earth being crucified upon a tree.
True Love refers to God, who sent his only son to us.
[NOTA BENE: The use of this song was a "secret catechism" for children, employed by Catholics persecuted in post-Reformation England, is a matter of some conjecture, as pointed out in this article from Snopes.com.]
Now then (and this should be a treat for those of you new to us), the return of a venerable mwbh tradition ...
Since 1984, the cumulative costs of the aforementioned items have been used as a tongue-in-cheek economic indicator. This custom began with and is maintained by PNC Bank. Two pricing charts are created, referred to as the "Christmas Price Index" and "The True Cost of Christmas." The former is an index of the current costs of one set of each of the gifts given by the True Love to the singer of the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas." The latter is the cumulative cost of all the gifts with the repetitions listed in the song. The people mentioned in the song are hired, not purchased.
Jim Dunigan, managing executive of investments with PNC Wealth Management, is back once again to discuss this year's CPI, including a brief history, the impact of the economy on this year's results, and how the PNC CPI can be used in the classroom. Obviously, the economy has had some surprises this year, not all of them pleasant ones, and this episode reflects that. Visit www.pncchristmaspriceindex.com to see the full interactive media extravaganza, or just watch the "low-end" version here.
The original 1984 cost was $12,623.10. The total costs of all goods and services for the 2011 Christmas Price Index is (up a measly 3.5 percent from $23,439.38 last year). Learn the details, including which items went up in cost, and which went down, in the accompanying video clip.
And now, don't you have anything better to do on a day like this? Your friends are waiting on Facebook. Hop to it!