We wish you a merry Winterval

England, which has an established church, is even more afraid of Christmas than the U.S. At a south London school where 20 percent of students are minorities has written a calypso version of the Twelve Days of Christmas, reports The Telegraph.

Gone is the “partridge in a pear tree” to be replaced by a “corn bird in a palm tree”.

The “two turtle doves” have become “two coconuts”, the traditional “five golden rings” have been turned into “ripe mangos” and “seven swans” are no longer a-swimming – expect “seven steel band beaters” instead.

. . . A religiously-sensitive version of “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” will also be performed as “Rocking Around the Shops”.

Rocking Around the Christmas Tree isn’t all that heavy on angels, shepherds and magi.

You will get a sentimental feeling
When you hear voices singing
“Let’s be jolly; Deck the halls with boughs of holly.”
Rocking around the Christmas Tree
Have a happy holiday
Everyone’s dancing merrily
In a new old fashioned way

Rocking around the Christmas Tree
Let the Christmas Spirit ring
Later we’ll have some pumpkin pie
and we’ll do some caroling.

Birmingham tried to replace “Christmas” with “Winterval” but was forced to back down.

Update: A chain of German stores have removed and destroyed a line of wooden Santa dolls because customers complained Santa seemed to be giving the stiff-armed Nazi salute.

About Joanne


  1. Do you know how many different versions of “12 Days of Christmas” there are? So what that they made up a Calypso version. Good for them.

    And you would think “real” Christians would be GLAD that we separate the crass, comercialized, consumer-driven greed fest aspect of Christmas and call it something else, say “Winterval”, so that Christians can appropriately celebrate the birth of Jesus…
    Christians who whine about the PC-ification of Christmas (“The War on Christmas” as FAUX News likes to call it) should really be more concerned with the commercialization of the holiday… such a huge contrast with the humilty that Jesus supposedly came into theis world… in a manger.

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    What a Scrooge!

    “Crass, commercialized, consumer-driven greed…” Indeed. Take your superior understanding and contempt for common culture for a walk. Just remember, it is only our culture that allows such as you to ascend to your chair. Other cultures are less accepting of criticism.

  3. Mr. Wallis said: “Other cultures are less accepting of criticism.”

    I love the Christmas season and have “no contempt for common culture.”
    But, gee… yes, you’re absolutely correct, sorry… critisizing anything in modern Western culture is tantamount to giving in to the terrorists… silly me. I should go to Walmart and buy as much useless crap to prove what a good Christian I am for supporting Christmas… I’m sure that is what Jesus would want.

    If you don’t think Christmas has become over-commercialized to the point where the real meaning of the season is obscured…
    Christmas is far more threatened by greed and commercialization than it is by political correctness.

  4. As Christmas is coming close many people and families are looking for Christmas sheet music. Do you do caroling and singing at home? There is very interesting article appearing at today’s HULIQ at http://www.huliq.com/351/finding-free-christmas-sheet-music-and-carols-is-not-that-hard on how to find Christmas sheet music and songs for family caroling.

  5. wayne martin says:

    It wasn’t until the WEB came along that I was able to begin to learn about the history of Christmas, which has had many twists and turns over the centuries. The most interesting bit for me was the Reformation and the period where the Puritans were in political power in England and New England, as the following snippet reports:


    The Reformation and the 1800s

    During the Reformation, Protestants condemned Christmas celebration as “trappings of popery” and the “rags of the Beast”. The Catholic Church responded by promoting the festival in a more religiously oriented form. When a Puritan parliament triumphed over the King, Charles I of England (1644), Christmas was officially banned (1647). Pro-Christmas rioting broke out in several cities. For several weeks, Canterbury was controlled by the rioters, who decorated doorways with holly and shouted royalist slogans. The Restoration (1660) ended the ban, but Christmas celebration was still disapproved of by the Anglican clergy.
    By the 1820s, sectarian tension had eased and British writers began to worry that Christmas was dying out. They imagined Tudor Christmas as a time of heartfelt celebration, and efforts were made to revive the holiday. The book A Christmas Carol (1843) by Charles Dickens played a major role in reinventing Christmas as a holiday emphasizing family, goodwill, and compassion (as opposed to communal celebration and hedonistic excess).

    The Puritans of New England disapproved of Christmas and celebration was outlawed in Boston (1659-81). Meanwhile, Virginia and New York celebrated freely. Christmas fell out of favor in the U.S. after the American Revolution, when it was considered an “English custom”.

    By some accounts the “12 Days of Christmas” was written to help Catholics remember aspects of their religion, when Catholicism was outlawed in England:

    Twelve Days of Christmas:

    It’s a shame that English kids aren’t being educated in their own traditions by their own schools. Sigh .. well, there’s always the Internet to see that they get the education they deserve.

  6. Catch Thirth Thr33 says:

    If jab doesn’t like the commercialization of Christmas, perhaps he/she can make his/her own toys and assorted gifts?
    The commercialization of Christmas whine is quite old. I, for one, am fond of the concept of the division of labor.

  7. “By some accounts the “12 Days of Christmas” was written to help Catholics remember aspects of their religion, when Catholicism was outlawed in England”

    Actually, the wikipedia article to which you linked specifically says this is a myth, and points to the urban-legend debunking site for evidence:


  8. wayne martin says:

    Given that Christmas is one myth stacked on top of another, it’s not clear why this particular carol’s alleged history/interpretation should have so many people’s knickers in a knot

    Given that Catholicism was outlawed in Britain for a significant period of time, the need to communicate in secret is a well-established fact. Hiding, was a way of life for Catholics at the time, as the following short article on Priest Holes details —

    Priest Holes:

    From researching this matter (more than I wanted to on this beautiful Sunday), I find that:

    The original posting was placed in on-line in BBS days by a Father Harold Stockert, from research he was performing at the time. The posting seems to have gained a life of its own, being picked up by people all over Christendom, who conveniently managed to forget Father Stockert as the source of this information—creating the “urban myth” which some have seen fit to “debunk”.

    Father Stockert posted the following in 2000, attempting to deal with the “debunkers” of his original posting:


    “Over the years since this was written, in about 1982, and first put out for the online world to enjoy, I have been deluged every year with hundreds of “you can’t prove this!” kinds of letters. Obviously, I cannot prove *anything* to anyone who doesn’t care to believe.

    However, for those who ARE interested in the provenance of the data, and to save myself the burden of having my inbox filled with notes asking for evidence to beat debunkers over the head with, I will simply add this and leave it to the reader to accept it or reject it as he or she may choose.

    I found this information while I was researching for an entirely unrelated project which required me to go to the Latin texts of the sources pertinent to my research. Among those primary documents there were letters from Irish priests, mostly Jesuits, writing back to the motherhouse at Douai-Rheims, in France, mentioning this purely as an aside, and not at all as part of the main content of the letters. In those days, even though there are those who will deny this, too, it was a sufficient crime between 1538 and nearly 1700 just to BE a Jesuit in England to find oneself hanged, drawn and quartered if he fell into the hands of the authorities. Edmund Campion was not the sole Jesuit in England during the period. And there are places in England itself which, if you visit them, will attest to the antiquity and veracity of the article.

    Whether you believe it or not is irrelevant to me. You can enjoy it or not, as you choose. I hadn’t written it as a doctoral thesis, simply as some delicious tidbit I thought the world would be delighted to share over a holiday season. It seems, however, that there is more than one grinch, and I am not at all interested in feeding the others who remain past the one in the Christmas cartoons. Believe if you will. Dissent if you choose. Let the rest enjoy the story.

    Fr. Hal 12/15/00

    Activity Source: Origin of the “Twelve Days of Christmas”: An Underground Catechism by Fr. Hal Stockert, 1995

    Wanting to double check a point or two, I was able to find an email address for Father Stockert, who promptly answered the following questions:

    >Do you have any idea where the first appearance of the
    >religious meanings of these verses was published?

    I don’t know that it ever WAS published. They were in *letters*,

    >Was wondering if you ever posted the Latin sources you
    >cite in the postscripts?


    >One WEB-page said you had some of your notes on a
    >floppy that couldn’t read any more. Is it a CP/M 8″

    Radio Shack Model III. But I no longer have them, either.

    So .. the bottom line is that Father Stockert found comments in Latin texts he was researching in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s, and posted these notes from these letters on the WEB for others to enjoy. Unfortunately, he didn’t source them for the satisfaction of some Grinches. However, there is really no reason to believe that he didn’t find these references during his research as he claims.

    Given the clearly documented hostility to Catholics in England during this period, it’s difficult to believe that this sort of secret messaging didn’t go on. Father Stockert’s research indicates that it did. Presumably these Latin texts still exist, so the “Debunkers” probably need to dig a little deeper by finding out where these texts are and read them for themselves before they try to “logic to death” Father Stochert’s story.

    Well, thank goodness for the Internet. Now, if we can just get the world’s literature digitized and on-line, we could solve a lot problems in a hurry.

  9. Indigo Warrior says:

    All this Anglo-American PCness is so curious given that Japan (less than 1% Christian) celebrates Christmas enthusiastically, and has no problem with the Jesus and Santa stuff, nor the Druidic stuff (mistletoe, holly, Yule logs).