Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Have you ever wondered who actually gave their true love “seven swans a-swimming” or “four calling birds”? “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is a song that dates back at least several hundred years and the title refers to the period of time between Christmas and Epiphany.

Sources disagree on the actual meaning of the song. The most intriguing theory is the claim that each verse has a hidden meaning and was intended to teach catechism to Catholic children during a time when they were not allowed to openly practice Catholicism. According to this theory, the verses can be interpreted as follows:

Partridge in a pear tree – Jesus
Two turtle doves – Old and New Testaments
Three French hens – Faith, hope, and love
Four calling birds – Four gospels
Five golden rings – Torah
Six geese a-laying – Six days of Creation
Seven swans a swimming – Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
Eight maids a-milking – Eight beatitudes
Nine Ladies Dancing – Nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
Ten Lords A-Leaping – Ten Commandments
Eleven Pipers Piping – Eleven faithful disciples
Twelve Drummers Drumming – Twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed

Next time, you hear this song, remember it's meaning and be thankful that we have the freedom to practice our religious beliefs openly.

Counting down to Christmas: Only twelve days left!


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