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Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Meaning of That Silly Song!


I received an email with the explanation of the Twelve Days of Christmas song. Sounds as plausible as any!

There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled us. 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 was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now you know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol...so pass it on if you wish. 'Merry (Twelve Days of) Christmas Everyone

16 comments:

Susan said...

That was interesting! The five golden rings really fascinated me!
Loved it, Pat!!! Knowledge is such a great gift!!!
Susan *dutchrose*

EileenandKaren@forgetmenotdreams said...

I've never heard that one before! Too fun! Merry Christmas!
Hugs,
Eileen
www.forgetmenotdreams.com

gail said...

Hi Pat, I hope you and your family have a beautiful and healthy holiday and New Year!
That was a great explanation of that song! I learned something new today.
(())gail

Lisa said...

Pat

Thank you, I had no idea!

Lisa

Dianne Hadaway said...

Pat thank you for that post! I never had heard of the meaning of this song. It's nice to know that it's not just some extravagant gift someone once gave their wife.

Carolee Crafts said...

Thank you for this blog info, it brought back memories from when I was younger and we were taught the meaning by the nun's at school. Only explained this to DH last week.

Have a Happy Christmas

Caroline

Miniature Patisserie Chef said...

Hi Pat,

I've never heard that one before too! Thanks for sharing that.
Have a wonderful christmas with your loved ones and family!

Pei Li

cathy said...

That explanation makes more sense than the actual song does. Christians through out the ages have often had to talk in code.
Merry Christmas!

Susan - My Vintage Charm said...

Thanks for sharing. Makes this song even more special!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Michelle (Shell) May said...

Well what do you know?? I never heard that, didn't know it and wow... now I do. Thanks Pat for that very interesting history lesson.
Merry Christmas sweet one.
bunny kisses,
shell

Julia said...

That was interesting!
Nice to know now what it means...makes more sense now.
Have a lovely Christmas and New Year..
Hugs Julia ♥

Shabby in Pink Boutique said...

Thanks for sharing, Very interesting! Wishing you a Merry Christmas & Happy Happy New Years!
Pink Wishes,
Stephanie

Craft Diva said...

you know, i had only heard that once before and it was just a week or two ago. it did not sound plausible as the person did not explain each thing, but now i see how that makes sense. thanks for the interesting information!

have an awesome Christmas, pat! we love you, girl!!!

Debbie said...

Hi Pat....thanks for the post...I've always wondered about that song myself. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and STAY WARM!!! :)

Holiday hugs,
Debbie

Cathy said...

Hi Pat,

Just checking in to see how you are holding up. Did you have some spiked Egg Nog over the weekend? I sure hope so, I know I did. Mmm Mmm good.

I'm thinking about you and hope you are in better spirits my friend.

xo Cathy

Lilli Blue said...

Now that was fun. I love finding out the hidden meaning in things. there is a book called The Extraordinary Origin of Everyday Things. We have had years of fun looking things up in that book. this reminds me of that.
May I also say that in my blog post I was thinking of you when I wrote about courage. you amaze me and getting to know you has been just wonderful. Happy New Year. Lilli