History of 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?

Well just read on:

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 the 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.

1. The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

2. Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

3. Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.

4. The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

5. The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books.

6. The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creating.

7. Seven swans a swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit–Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership and Mercy.

8. The eight maids a milking were the eight beatitudes.

9. Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit–Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

10. The ten lords a leaping were the Ten Commandments.

11. The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful
disciples.

12. The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles Creed.

So there is your history for today. I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song becamea Christmas Carol..

waynem

About waynem

As a Minnesota based photographer and artist I have been greatly influenced by the Upper Midwest. I focus my skills and energies on portraits, landscapes, cityscapes, architectural and fine art work. My best work comes from images first painted in my mind. I mull over a prospective image for weeks or months, seeing it from different angles and perspectives, then finally deciding what to capture. The result is images that deeply touch people's emotions and powerfully evoke memories and dreams. My images are used commercially by companies and organizations ranging from Financial Services firms, mom and pop Ice Cream shops and The Basilica of St Mary to communicate their shared vision and values. Book and magazine publishers have featured my images on their covers. My photographs also grace and enhance the decor of many fine homes.
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3 Responses to History of Twelve Days of Christmas

  1. Eric says:

    Check your sources, buddy.

  2. guppi says:

    what is your take on it, eric. site some sources

Comments are closed.