Saturday, December 28, 2013

4 calling birds. . . nope

today's 12 days of christmas "gift" are 4 colly birds .  yes, you read that right.  all these years you have been singing "calling" birds.  no one is sure where the mix up happened, but it is believed that they really are called colly or collie birds.  a colly bird is basically a european blackbird.  colly means black.  and in europe a coal mine was called a colliery and colly or collie is derived from this.

so, why would you give your true love 4 crows?  it would have been a gift of food.  blackbirds were plentiful and a common food at the time.  we see them again in the nursery rhyme - sing a song of sixpence, we see them being served in a meat pie.  this may have been the way they were commonly served.

in the christian tradition the 4 colly birds symbolize the  four gospels or evangelists - matthew, mark, luke and john.

so -- we've (myself included) have learned something new today  -- and been singing the carol wrong all these years.  tune in tomorrow and see what other surprise i might dig up! :)

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