Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Twelve Days of Christmas???

There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me.
What in the world do leaping lords, French hens,
swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out
of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

This week, I found out...or so I heard.
From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were
not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone
during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics.
It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning
plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each
element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality
which the children could remember.
-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness,
Gentleness, and Self Control.
-The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.
So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol...Maybe,does anyone know for sure!?
Merry (Twelve Days of) Christmas Everyone


  1. Wow! I never knew this! It was interesting!

    A news channel here added up once how much all the gifts in the song would amount to it was like $400 million or some ridiculous amount.

  2. This is one of my favorite carols. Thanks for the history lesson - it does make it more meaningful knowinthis. Oh and thanks - it's stuck in my head now. hahahaha

    Glad to see you back!

  3. Glad you're back and feeling well enough to publish this little bit of history!

  4. that was fun information, hope you're feeling better..

  5. Well now I know. I have always pondered what all this stuff had to do with the season of Jesus' birth.
    Thanks for sharing this very interesting seasonal info.

    You have yourself one terrifically blessed day!!!

  6. How interesting! I was browsing some of your older posts and learnt that you were sick earlier. pneumonia in both lungs sounds awful! i am glad you are back to feeling better!


  7. :) love your side bar too!



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