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Ninth Day of Christmas: Nine Ladies Dancing


On the ninth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:
nine ladies dancing…

January 2nd  is here and so this is the “Ninth Day of Christmas.” One would think after all  these festivities and frolics of the previous days, it would be difficult to find nine ladies dancing. On the other hand after all the food and drink of the the last few weeks – perhaps dancing is just what the personal trainer ordered!

The celebrations and significance of the first eight days of Christmas seems fairly clear. Probably because it is the eight days from Christmas to New Year’s day. January 2nd seems muddled in the meaning of the day. Perhaps that is because after all this celebrating a break is needed!

I find in several references that today is referred to as the Octave of St. Stephen. I had never heard of an Octave before in the spiritual sense – only in the musical sense! An Octave in the sense of the Christian Church is a period of eight days focused on the contemplation of a particular concept. The Octave of St. Stephen seems to be focused on the concept of sacrifice and devotion. As the Octave of St. Stephen is also overlayed with the Octave of the Christmas (which runs from Christmas Day to New Year’s Day) it seems the celebration of St. Stephen is subsumed by the larger events.

Today is also in the feast day of St. Basil the Great. St. Basil was an important scholar on early Church doctrines.  Many of his writings shaped the thought of the early Church, and helped clarify many of the concepts central to Christianity. He is recognized as an important theologian by all branches of Christianity, and venerated by both the Orthodox and Catholic branches of Christianity.

St. Basil was born into wealth and privilege. Through that advantage of birth he was gifted with an extensive education in the knowledge of the world. He was apparently an observant and thoughtful man who applied his learning to morality and ethics. His many homilies on various topics touched on the importance of building community and helping others. His devotion to early Christianity caused him to give away his money to the poor, and to pursue learning and teaching as a way of life for the good of others. His example, and his biography, is perhaps one that should be given to our politicians to remind them of what it means to be “of service to others.”

Looking up foods for today I note that on the USA celebrations listing today is National Buffet Day. That makes perfect sense to me! All those leftovers who needs to cook? Haul out the leftovers and have a smorgasbord!

On the downside some cultures consider today the “unluckiest day of the year.” Mainly because all that good luck of the previous few weeks must be balanced out by fate! Of course that could just be the pessimists in the world looking for an excuse to party.

Hope you are having a Merry New Year on this the second day of the year – and the ninth day of Christmas.

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9 responses

  1. […] Source: Ninth Day of Christmas […]

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  3. Reblogged this on merlinspielen and commented:

    January 2nd is the Ninth Day of Christmas. Here is the write up from last year!
    And just an aside: today is the earth’s nearest approach to the sun – and it is still darn cold here!

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  4. Pardon this, but, as with many others, I count the first day of Christmas as December 26th, with the 12th day, Epiphany, falling on January 6th. This is something I’ve researched more than I really cared to, but there it is. But a fun, interesting article.

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    1. Yes there are two traditions for the counting – I included that in my post for the “Second Day of Christmas” here https://merlinspielen.com/2014/12/26/second-day-of-christmas-two-turtle-doves-2/
      The Western Christian (influenced by Rome) starts the 12 days on December 25th. With January 5th as the 12th day (and thus that evening is Twelfth Night)
      The Epiphany in the Western sense is still within the longer old Christmas cycle that went to February 1st by some reckonings! By current Western tradition January 6th is the beginning of the Epiphany which also initiates a liturgical season of Epiphanytide – the following celebration to Christmastide.

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  5. Wasn’t there a song about the feast of Stevens (actually possibly Dec 26th)… maybe his feast doesn’t have anything to do with the Octave?
    Anyway here are the words:
    http://www.metrolyrics.com/good-king-wenceslas-lyrics-christmas-carols.html

    Thanks for the visit. Think I’ll have to read all of your ‘days’ just for the history.
    But not today.

    Best to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes December 26th is the Feast of Stephen – and yes indeed it gets its own Carol. But I used it for December 26th 🙂

      And yes the Octave of Stephen has to do with the 8 days starting from December 26…

      In years past I have invited people over on December 26 for a potluck brunch (as my name is Stephen) and called it the Feast of Stephen celebration…

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      1. 🙂
        We hail from an interfaith family.
        So we celebrate family and feasting whenever we can.

        Some of our family members can’t have cake for their birthday… But we manage.

        And the grandchildren get just a tad spoiled. But we hope that as they get older they too will be more into giving than getting.

        We are trying something I read where the child gets three envelopes with the same amount of cash… one for college, one for spending and one for charity.

        So many traditions… I tend to think on the positive side these days. I always did like the number 13. 😉

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