Posted on December 21, 2009. Filed under: Holiday / Holy Day... |

Ever wonder what the words mean in the Christmas Carol, "The 12 Days of Christmas"?  Here’s a beautiful explanation.  How terrible is it that in 2009, we’re still fighting for our right to practice our faith openly without opposition.  That’s something I’d love to see changed…

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 and 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 SpiritProphesy, 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 SpiritLove, 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 you have it—the true meaning of the 12 Days Of Christmas.  Remember this every time you hear this Christmas Carol or sing it.  I found it extremely interesting and very uplifting, and now when I sing it, it means that much more to me…


Merry (Twelve Days of) Christmas, Everyone!







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