Christmas Carol titled Twelve Days of Christmas – A strange Christian Song with an interesting Catholic history and background

There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled many believers and non believers by its catchy and ‘Farm Ville’ themed lyrics. For example turtle doves, leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won’t come out of the pear tree are related with Christmas season?

From 1558 until 1829 in England, Roman Catholics were not permitted to practice their faith openly. A few Catholic priests and believers wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. The lyrics in the song has two levels of meaning I.e. the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of the Catholic church. Each noun elements in the carol has a code word for a religious reality to help Catholic children remember easily.

The 12 code words with related religious meanings are listed below in accordance to the rhyme of the Christmas carol.
•  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 and 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 i.e. 1. Prophesy, 2. Serving, 3. Teaching, 4. Exhortation, 5. Contribution, 6. Leadership, and 7. Mercy.
• The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
• Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit i.e. 1. Love, 2. Joy, 3. Peace, 4. Patience, 5. Kindness, 6. Goodness, 7. Faithfulness, 8. Gentleness, and 9. Self Control.
• The ten lords a-leaping were the Ten Commandments.
• The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples of Christ.
• The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.

Lastly, wishing all believers a Happy Merry Christmas and wishing the rest a Wonderful Festival Holiday and school break. God Bless all.