9th Day: Holy Name & Ballerinas

On January 3, the Church celebrates the Holy Name of Jesus. In the current Roman Calendar, it is a relatively minor day, an “optional memorial,” and in various other church calendars, it is celebrated on different days as well.

“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare asks in Romeo and Juliet. A lot, actually.  Your name is the first means by which someone else knows you. It’s the primary symbol of a relationship. Right there is food for thought. I’d love to explore this thought more, but do not have the leisure to do so now. Perhaps at another time.

In our “Twelve Days of Christmas” song, I’m noticing a pattern.  “Five Gold Rings” seems to stand out as an anomaly. We’ll explore that more at the end of the series; it may have a significance that ties all the other gifts together. Up to this point, we could open a restaurant: five sets of birds that either are food or produce food; one species of bird to grace the pond which the dining terrace, a dairy to provide milk, cheese, and ice cream; and gold to finance the enterprise. Beginning with yesterday, all the remaining gifts are people or services provided by people. Two gifts are dancers and two are musicians.


Today we have ballerinas . . . or perhaps a chorus line. Religiously, these are said to symbolize the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). OK.

Dancers and musicians, except high-end superstars, are rarely paid in proportion to their skill level, but they do better than minimum-wage milkmaids. Here’s how the PNC Christmas Price Index calculates their worth:

Nine Ladies Dancing, $7,552.84 or $835.87 each.
Ten Lords A-Leaping, $10,000 or an even $1,000 each.
Eleven Pipers Piping, $2,804.40 or $254.91 each.
Twelve Drummers Drumming, $3,038.10 or $276.18 each.

So . . . dancers make more than musicians, men are paid more than women (surprise!), and the talent needed to play a nice tune is deemed less valuable than banging on a hollow object with a stick. Go figure . . .


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