A Daily Thought

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Twelve Days Of Christmas


#christmas (Photo credit: Isselmuden)

Well I’ll be blowed! I’ve never heard of this before.  Who Knew?



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 I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol…so pass it on if you wish.’

13 comments on “Twelve Days Of Christmas

  1. yellowlancer
    December 20, 2012

    Thanks Judy – I love reading the background and inspiration behind sayings, songs, stories and poems 🙂


    December 21, 2012

    Reblogged this on "Ye Shall Know Me by My Fruits" and commented:


  3. ManicDdaily
    December 21, 2012

    Very interesting. Thanks. K.


    • Judy
      December 22, 2012

      So glad you enjoyed it 🙂


  4. walterdoege
    December 23, 2012

    Deborah. This is a special and so lovely gift you also shared. I received as a gift of yours and you bring to me joy and trust… let me send you my warm regards for help me to sence time and life as different ones…and love as more than I could express till your care for me. I wish you a happy Christmas. I am invited to attend a joyful and lovely family Christmas. I miss my mother so much, but I do accept the facts with gratitude. You give me love more than I can express. You are close to love and truth. You are an inspiration for me. You complete the ten dancers if I can write this way. Blessings my so dear and near lovely friend. Walter


    • Judy
      December 23, 2012

      Hi Walter I got your message for Deborah on my blog but I don’t know any Deborah. I think you must have sent it to me by mistake. Have a very merry Christmas anyway and I hope you get in touch with Deborah. I am glad that you enjoyed the Twelve Days of Christmas. cheers Judy 🙂


      • walterdoege
        December 24, 2012

        Sure Judy! perhaps Deborah reblogged. Anyway, I love Twelve Days of Christmas. I was trying to remember the carol.Share love is this way. We can find good and lovely persons on the road.Happy Christmas, Judy. Sincerely, Walter


      • Judy
        December 24, 2012

        Glad you found Deborah, Walter. I was worried your lovely message had gone astray. Have a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year 🙂


      • walterdoege
        December 25, 2012

        Thanks. You too. All the best. Walter


  5. Pingback: FWD: Why are 10 Lords A-Leaping? – Christmas Leftovers | Stuff My Mom Forwards

  6. Judith
    December 24, 2012

    Thanks Judy. I did know about Catholics not being allowed to practice their faith but didn’t know the meaning behind the rhyme. And did you know
    Christmas was cancelled in England in the 1640s when Puritan law forbade churches to open on Christmas Day and banned home decorations, celebrations, carol singing and the creating of Nativity scenes. December 25 was declared a day of everyday work and fasting. The outraged populace made Christmas observances in secret until the Monarchy was restored in 1660 and King Charles II restored Christmas.
    And thanks for stopping by my blog. Happy Christmas.


    • Judy
      December 24, 2012

      No I didn’t know that Judith. Thanks so much for sharing, that is so interesting. I’m glad you stopped to check out my blog too. Have a Happy Christmas and a great New Year. 🙂


  7. Pingback: Twelve Days of Christmas New Zealand Style | I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

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