Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmastide: Day 1 (Nativity)

“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree.”

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The period known as Christmastide begins with the Feast of the Nativity itself; specifically, with the evening of this first day, through the morning of the Feast of the Epiphany. And so the first day of Christmastide is 25-26 December, ending with Twelfth Night on 5-6 January.

By tomorrow, you will stop hearing Christmas music on some radio stations, but around Chez Alexandre, whether here or on the road, as well as here at man with black hat, 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 are 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 as a "secret catechism" for children, employed by Catholics persecuted in post-Reformation England, is a matter of some dispute, as pointed out in this article from Leave it to them to bring the party down, especially when they're actually wrong some of the time.]

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Now then (and this should be a treat for those of you new to us), we present the continuation of a venerable man with black hat tradition.

For more than thirty years, PNC Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in the United States, has calculated the prices of the twelve gifts from the classic carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The result is the PNC Christmas Price Index, originally the brainchild of Jim Dunigan, the former managing executive of investments with PNC Wealth Management. The result is a unique and whimsical holiday tradition that makes learning about the economy fun.

For many years, Mr Dunigan himself presented the complete rundown of the cost of the entire entourage. For now, you can get the short version from the CNN. The cost of this year's CPI rose by a modest 0.2 percent to $38,993.59, just a wee bit higher than the previous year, but a 95 percent increase from the first Christmas Price Index in 1984.

And so, in the years following his departure, Mr Dunigan's legacy presses on.

In previous years, we have provided a detailed look at the price of what somebody's true love give to them with each of the twelve days, also courtesy of PNC, and with a comparison of the previous year. But with plans to be on the other side of the planet during much of Christmastide, we invite our dear readers to check the PNC Christmas Price Index website for complete information.

All that being said (and all that which is said to follow), from all of us at Chez Alexandre, we wish you "Maligayang Pasko at Makabagong Bagong Taon!"

You get the idea. Now, dear minions, go forth and spread joy!

(The illustration for the PNC Christmas Price Index is from the website of PNC Bank, NA, and is used here without permission or shame. It's the least they can do for charging me twenty-five bucks a month to earn interest off my damn money.)

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