Friday, 28 December 2012

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Day Four

The 12 Days of Christmas – Day 4

The fourth of the twelve days of Christmas on the 28th of December is Holy Innocents’ Day, which was for fasting not feasting.

According to the Gospel of St. Mathew, the Magi (the three wise men) told Herod that the King of the Jews would soon be born. Herod requested the Magi to return and tell him when they found the baby. However, an angel warned them not to, so they returned home by another route.

Thwarted because he could not implement his plan to murder the Christ Child, Herod gave orders for all the boy children in Bethlehem who were under the age of two to be slaughtered. The murdered innocents are regarded as saints and are the patron saints of foundlings.

People believed no work undertaken on the 28th of December would prosper, and that the day of the week on which Holy Saints’ Day fell would be unlucky throughout the following year.

A carol titled The Coventry Carol dates from the 16th century, it was part of a mystery play called "The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors". The carol is a mother’s imaginary lament for her ill-fated son. The following is one of the modern


“Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Lullay, thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay. )

O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.


Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children to slay.


That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh,
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
Bye, bye, lully, lulla.”


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