Meaning of the 12 Days of Christmas

  So I recieved an email explaining the meaning behind that strange Christmas Carol “The 12 Days of Christmas”  I found it very interesting, and behind Silent Night and O Holy Night, I believe is now a favorite Carol of mine.  I look forward to teaching my kids to sing it and the meaning behind it.  So here it is, the information I recieved on it:

 

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.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Melissa
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 17:22:38

    very interesting! i will have to share w/ my husband; he loves stuff like this! btw, i didn't know you are friends with Jenni Causey! We were bff in elementary school!

    Reply

  2. jennifer renee
    Dec 13, 2009 @ 05:36:02

    hey melissa!oh, and i'm glad you liked the email. 😉 love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

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