Lycanthropic Link to the 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
Let me just go ahead and warn you, peeps. This week is going to be heavy on the holiday-related stuff. By the time you’ll all be reading this, December 25th will have passed, but this whole “end-Christmas-at-11:59-PM” movement is of recent vintage and largely commercial in origin. Stores hurrying to strip their shelves and capitalize on the next marketable holiday; I went into a Dollar General on Christmas Eve and they already had freakin’ Valentine’s candy out! Traditionally, though, the Christmastime celebration always continued through the sixth of January, which celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany, or the arrival of the Magi, or “Wise Men.” Legend says it took them 12 days to get there. Those Nativity scenes showing the Magi already present are incorrect. The point of all this is that the Christmas celebration, as I type these words, is NOT over, no matter what Dollar General and its ilk might say, and so my leaning on holiday-themed material this week is appropriate, even if you’re not reading this until the first week of January.
No one knows the origin of the lyrics to the Christmas carol “The 12 Days of Christmas.” The song itself is British in origin, with a French influence, and is at least somewhere around 300 years old. Where that French influence is concerned, William S. Baring-Gould suggested that the “Five Golden Rings” mentioned on the Fifth Day weren’t actually pieces of jewelry but was a reference to the golden-ringed pheasant. Considering that the verses corresponding to the seventh, sixth, fourth, third, second, and first days all feature birds, this makes sense. If you’re wondering what the connection to werewolves is, Baring-Gould was the grandson of the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould, who is best known for writing the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers” AND the 1865 Occult classic THE BOOK OF WERE-WOLVES, which was a big influence on Bram Stoker’s penning of DRACULA.
The more you know, right?