What do the Twelve Days of Christmas mean?

Reblogger Jon Quist

Jean-Paul has written a very interesting and intriguing post, I must say. I've actually never given this much thought. OK, no thoughts ever. Now, I'm curious. Good subject content.

Wikipedia has all sorts of opinions on origins but no mention of this idea. Now I'll have to wander all over the Internet investigating this particular story.

Very interesting indeed.

Original content by Jean-Paul Peron NC 261870

This is a question that has played arond in the back of my mind for many years. I would wonder what the meaning was behind that particular song since I have never seen a Christmas special on TV explaining it.  :) 

Well this year I got an email with one explination that is intriguing, so I thought I would share. If you know of any other stories behind the song, let us know.

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.

Jean-Paul Peron
Living & Working in 4-Wheel Drive
The Outer Banks Real Estate Company
Work:  (888) 457-7376
Mobile: (252) 564-9390

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David Spencer
Keller Williams Northland - Kansas City, MO
Show Me real estate in Kansas City

Never thought about where it came from, but nice to have the information.

Dec 14, 2011 12:54 PM #1
Dee Mayers
Covina, CA
San Gabriel Valley, CA

Wikipedia does have an opinion.  Here is a quote: "The lyrics of The Twelve Days of Christmas may have no meaning at all. Its meaning, if it has any, has yet to be satisfactorily explained."

Dec 18, 2011 01:27 PM #2
Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

We were taught that in Catechism way back in the 1970s. Have you seen the Christian Resource Institute's take on it: http://www.crivoice.org/cy12days.html


Dec 23, 2011 02:09 PM #3
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