Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas

It's still Christmas at our house!

In our tradition, the liturgical calendar marks the twelve days of Christmas beginning on December 25th and ending on January 5th.  Christmas is a season for us -- beginning the day we celebrate our Lord's birth and ending when the three kings arrive at His birthplace when we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. 

The "deeper meaning" of the song The Twelve Days of Christmas is a myth which has been propagated since the mid 1980s.  There is no evidence that its origins were from the  16th century split by the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church.  For a time, it was a crime to be Roman Catholic in England.  During that interval, it was thought that this song was used as a way to teach young Roman Catholic children the catechism.  Truth be told, there is no scholarly evidence to support this myth as fact.

Anyway, here are what the 12 gifts were thought to symbolize:
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.

A meaningful story perhaps but nothing factual to back it up but I still like it!

I'm linking to The Nativity Carnival hosted by Kerry, A Ten O'Clock Scholar


  1. I like the symbols someone invented, but the story never really made sense...nothing particularly Non-Protestant or specifically Catholic about these. They all seem like solid Christian truths.

    Thanks for linking up to the Nativity Carnival!

  2. Amy,
    I have just started to take down my Christmas decorations as I am off from work for a few days!
    Wishing you and yours a very Healthy and Happy New Year!!


  3. Kerry, I love the sentiment - and they are solid Christian truths!

    Debbie, I'm starting the process today too and I'm sad...I love my Christmas house!