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"The 12 Days of Christmas" - the song When most people hear of "The 12 days of Christmas" they think of the song. This song had its origins as a teaching tool to instruct young people in the meaning and content of the Christian faith. From 1558 to 1829 Roman Catholics in England were not able to practice their faith openly so they had to find other ways to pass on their beliefs. The song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is one example of how they did it. "The 12 Days of Christmas" is in a sense an allegory. Each of the items in the song represents something of religious significance. The hidden meaning of each gift was designed to help young Christians learn their faith. The song goes, "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me..." The "true love" represents God and the "me" who receives these presents is the Christian. The "partridge in a pear tree" was Jesus Christ who died on a tree as a gift from God. The "two turtle doves" were the Old and New Testaments - another gift from God. The "three French hens" were faith, hope and love - the three gifts of the Spirit that abide (I Corinthians 13). The "four calling birds" were the four Gospels which sing the song of salvation through Jesus Christ. The "five golden rings" were the first five books of the Bible also called the "Books of Moses." The "six geese a-laying" were the six days of creation. The "seven swans a swimming" were "seven gifts of the Holy Spirit." (I Corinthians 12:8-11, Romans 12, Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 4:10-11) The "eight maids a milking" were the eight beatitudes. The "nine ladies dancing" were nine fruits of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) The "ten lords a-leaping" were the Ten Commandments. The "eleven pipers piping" were the eleven faithful disciples. The "twelve drummers drumming" were the twelve points of the Apostles' Creed. So the next time you hear "The 12 Days of Christmas" consider how this otherwise non-religious sounding song had its origins in the Christian faith.
Below submitted by Angel....author/source unknow The first day of the 12 days is Christmas Day and the last day is January 6th - Epiphany - when many churches commemorate the journey of the three wise men. Almost everyone has heard "The Twelve Days of Christmas," but most probably haven't heard the story behind it. From 1558 until 1829 Roman Catholics in England were forbidden to practice their faith openly and because of this "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written as a secret catechism that could be sung in public without the risk of persecution. The song had a hidden meaning known only to church members. The elements of each verse of the song are codes for the following: The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ. The two turtle doves are the Old and New Testaments. The three French hens stand for faith, hope and love. The four calling birds are the four Gospels. The five gold rings recall the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament. The six geese a laying stand for the six days of creation. Seven swans a swimming represent the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit. The eight maids a milking are the eight beatitudes. Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5). The 10 lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments Eleven pipers piping stand for the 11 faithful disciples. and The Twelve drummers drumming symbolize the 12 points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.
© 1998,1999 ~ Nancy Alison ~