Wednesday, January 1, 2014

8 maids a milking . . . (what no birds?)


well, today we get a break from the 7 days of birds - today's gift is 8 maids a-milking.

 there are 2 different themes that come from this gift.  the first is of food.  during the 15th and 16th centuries there was no refrigeration, so milk - and things made from it that would spoil without being kept cold and were saved for special occasions.  custard was one of these special treats.

the other theme we notice is the maids -- or maidens, milking the cows.  this gives us a bit of romance.  during the 12th night celebrations, some of the social rules for the unmarried ladies were a little lax, so there were opportunities for the men to sneak away with a young maiden into the dark corner of the rooms - the chaperons were busy eating and drinking, dancing and socializing to notice.  12th night parties were also sometime masked balls -- providing more mystery and opportunity.

the christian symbol for the 8th day is the 8 beatitudes, or 8 lessons taught by Jesus in his sermon on the mount.  the beatitudes are found at matthew 5: 3-12:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they shall possess the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.



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