Third Day of Christmas: Three French Hens

On the third day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:
Three French Hens…

December 27th is here and so this is the “Third Day of Christmas.” In the Western Christian tradition this is the  Feast of Saint John – which makes this St. John’s Day. St. John was the only Apostle that was not martyred  for his beliefs, and lived into old age.

One story of St. John the Evangelist  suggests that there was an attempt to poison St. John, by placing poison in his wine. St. John blessed the wine before he drank it – and thus cleansed it of any poison. A tradition of this day is then to take a bottle of wine to Church, and have the bottle blessed. The wine is then consumed as part of the family dinner.

As part of the tradition of this day in the Roman rite of the Church this prayer was part of the December 27th mass:

O Lord God, deign to bless and consecrate with Thy right hand this cup of wine and of whatever drink: and grant that through the merits of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist, all who believe in Thee and who drink from this cup may be blessed and protected. And as blessed John drank from the cup of poison and remained completely unharmed, may, through his merits, all who drink from the cup on this day in honor of blessed John be rescued from every sickness of poison and from every kind of harm; and, offering themselves up body and soul, may they delivered from all fault. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Bless, O Lord, this creature of drink: that it may be a remedy of salvation for all who consume it: and grant through the invocation of Thy holy name that whoever will have tasted of it may, through Thy giving, experience health of the soul as well as of the body. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

And the blessing of almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, descend upon this creature of wine and of whatever drink, and remain forever. Amen.

This sounds like my kind of celebration – the blessing and drinking of wine. In moderation of course – with no driving afterwards.

In doing some further reading on St. John’s Day, I came across a reference to a traditional drink: William Kaufman provides this recipe in the Catholic Cookbook for a St. John’s Day mulled wine:
1 quart red wine
3 whole cloves
1/16 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 two-inch cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar

Pour the wine into a large saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 5 minutes (which will reduce the alcohol and let the flavours meld). Serve hot. 8-10 servings. Toast each other with the traditional offering of “Drink the love of St. John.”

Happy Third Day of Christmas – and Cheers!

2 thoughts on “Third Day of Christmas: Three French Hens

  1. Pingback: Third Day of Christmas: Three French Hens | merlinspielen

  2. Reblogged this on merlinspielen and commented:

    The Third Day of Christmas is here!
    Yes that is correct Christmas doesn’t start the day after American Thanksgiving! In fact it doesn’t start until December 25th. Before that it is Advent: The anticipation of the Christmas season!


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