The Significance of the 12 Days of Christmas

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 REB.0759001

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?


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.

So there is your history for today. This knowledge is enlightening and explains how that strange song became a Christmas Carol...

The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Plaza

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Ed Silva  RE/MAX Professionals,   203-206-0754

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

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  1. Alexandria Virginia 12/23/2009 12:47 AM
  2. Re/Max Partners 12/23/2009 03:14 AM
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Rainmaker
1,392,277
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Ed, very interesting story behind The Twelve Days Of Christmas. Thanks and have a great Holiday!

Dec 22, 2009 11:34 PM #1
Rainmaker
536,156
Kenneth Cole
Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, Appleseedhomes.com... - Staten Island, NY
NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

Thanks for the history lesson.  Merry Christmas!

Dec 22, 2009 11:34 PM #2
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Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Ed, I missed this. Very interesting. And the other misconception about the 12 days of Christmas is... it is not before Christmas, it is after!

Have a wonderful Christmas Ed.

Dec 23, 2009 12:29 AM #4
Rainmaker
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Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage - Brampton, ON
Our Family Wants To Help Your Family!

Thank Ed, enjoyed that!  Had heard it before but the old memory had a bunch of holes in it, thanks for plugging them up!

Dec 23, 2009 01:33 AM #5
Rainer
18,215
Rachelle McMahan
Golf Savings Bank - Grants Pass, OR

Ed - Interesting.  I had wonderful myself about this.  Thanks for doing the research and educating us all.

Merry Christmas

Dec 23, 2009 05:20 AM #6
Rainmaker
679,489
William James Walton Sr.
WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group - Waterbury, CT
Greater Waterbury Real Estate

Wow. Never knew this. Interesting stuff. I wonder how many other songs hvae thisn type of history

 

Dec 23, 2009 03:36 PM #7
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