In the west, the 12 days of Christmas begin on Demeber 14th, marking the 12 days until Christmas. It is also a song whose rhyme and rhythm is ingrained in our minds. However, there is more to this song than what meets the eye (or vocal cords).
Let’s look a little more in detail about the 12 days of Christmas and what each item really means! From the mid 1500s until the early 1800s, Roman Catholics were not able to practice their faith in England, so someone came up with a carol that was a catechism song for young Catholics. The meaning of the song is two-fold: a surface meaning, plus a hidden, religious meaning. Each element in the carol was meant for a way for kids to remember religious aspects.
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.
That’s your history lesson for today! Enjoy your weekend!