The Boar's Head Carol has been sung at Queen's College, Oxford, since the seventeenth century, as the celebrated dish is borne into the dining hall. An early version of a similar carol was first printed in 1521 by Wynkyn de Worde.
The boar's head in hand bear I
Bedecked with bays and rosemary
I pray you, my masters, be merry
Quot estis in convivio (so many as are in the feast)
CHORUS: Caput apri defero, Reddens laudes domino (the boar's head I bring, giving praises to God)
The boar's head, as I understand,
Is the rarest dish in all this land,
Which thus bedecked with a gay garland
Let us servire cantico. (let us serve with a song)
Our steward hath provided this
In honor of the King of bliss
Which, on this day to be served is
In Reginensi atrio: (in the Queen's hall)
This video of the Christmas carol The Boar's Head by Lakelandvoices pleased me no end. This is how he describes the video at You Tube:
The story goes that some time in the middle ages a student from Queen's College in Oxford was walking in the grounds when a wild boar came crashing towards him. He ran as far as he could until his back was against the wall. the boars was pounding towards him, death was imminent - until the student pulled out a copy of Aristotle's philosophy and rammed it into the boar's mouth, killing it instantly. It's head was served in the Queen Hall that night - and every Christmas night up to the present time.
Some say this was a metaphor for what the students wanted to do to their philosophy professors who they thought of as crushing bores!
Lakelandvoices captures here the peace and simplicity that I strive to achieve during the holidays. I've done much better in the last few years, having fairly well stripped commercialism from my own December celebration. I don't feel pushed to shop and I don't feel pulled to conform. I don't need anything, so the few simple gifts I receive are enough and sometimes too much.
We've given charitable contributions in the names of the majority of people on our list instead of personal gifts for the past two years, and some have, in turn, begun to reciprocate in a like manner. Our youngest niece and nephews have doting parents and grandparents who have given them blessed lives. Our "gifts" to them have been to ensure that they are blessings to the future of nature, by "adopting" various animals in their names for meaningful causes. Symbolically adopting an animal from WWF (World Wide Fund) makes a wonderful gift for children and adults alike. WWF has 90 species from which to choose for gift adoptions. Categories include the most popular, threat level, and region. Symbolic gift adoption kits start at $25 and include photos, adoption certificates, gift boxes, gift bags, and 8"-30" plush animals depending upon the Adoption Kit you select.
Here are links to the adoption pages for WWF's most threatened that you can adopt symbolically:
And here's the list taking you to adoption pages of the popular top ten:
- Polar bear
- Snow Leopard
- Amur Leopard
- Blue-Footed Booby
- Gray Wolf
- Pygmy Elephant
A few years ago I bought one of those Wrapsacks reusable gift bags for my sister's gift and now she and I pass it back and forth. It saves so much time in wrapping - not to mention the original intent of saving trees. The Wrapsacks website is great and can get you started on the adventure of Track-a-Sack, whereby after registering your purchased sack online you can track the Wrapsack's travels delivering gifts for years to come. This year I'm going to buy several more and use them exclusively for the few gifts we buy.
Keeping it simple is, for me, the only way to enjoy the holidays. If that's true for you also I'd love to hear about your "green" practices, simplicity/serenity tips, and special traditions.