Friday, December 28, 2007

Yet another thing that makes sense now that I'm Catholic

In college I sang in Women's Glee Club, and we did a very old Christmas song called "Wolcum Yole" (which roughly means "Welcome, Christmas season!"). Two of the lines went, "Wolcom be ye, Stevene and Jon / Wolcom Innocentes every one." I figured the lyricist was just throwing in names there, filling up the song with more lines. Why Stephen and John? Why not? As for "Innocentes," I imagined that referred to all good Christian folk.

Well, NOW I get it. Someone just posted those lyrics on Fr. Z's comboxes and it jolted my memory, but this time I had a Catholic understanding to apply to it. Christmas is on the 25th, and then the feast of St. Stephen on the 26th, and St. John the Evangelist on the 27th, and the Holy Innocents (who are the children of Bethlehem two years old and under that Herod had killed in an attempt to kill Jesus) have their feast on the 28th! Thomas a Becket comes on the 29th and before you know it it's the new year, and all that and more is in the song:
Wolcum, Wolcum, Wolcum be thou hevenè king,
Wolcum Yole! Wolcum, born in one morning,
Wolcum for whom we sall sing!
Wolcum be ye, Stevene and Jon,
Wolcum, Innocentes every one,
Wolcum, Thomas marter one,
Wolcum be ye, good Newe Yere,
Wolcum, Twelfthe Day both in fere,
Wolcum, seintes lefe and dere,
Wolcum Yole, Wolcum Yole, Wolcum!
Candelmesse, Quene of bliss,
Wolcum bothe to more and lesse.
Wolcum, Wolcum, Wolcum be ye that are here,
Wolcum Yole, Wolcum alle and make good cheer,
Wolcum alle another yere, another yere, Wolcum Yole, Wolcum!


pritcher said...

Along the same lines...

A couples years after I became Catholic, I had one of those ah-hah moments when I realized that the "Feast of Stephen" on which Good King Wenceslaus looked out was not just a strange way of pronouncing "Field of Stephen." Seriously, I always thought he was looking out over a field.

Rachel Gray said...

When I was Protestant I remember thinking, "Why is Good King Wenceslaus a Christmas song? It never mentions Christmas!" Now I understand that it takes place on the day after. :)