Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Begins on Christmas Day and includes the Octave of the Christmas Season – twelve days of celebration & feasting.

This very interesting carol originated as a Hebrew hymn, which begins, “In those twelve days …” In the Middle Ages, the song was rewritten in Latin with Christian images. By 1645, an English version of the Latin hymn had appeared, and by the 18th Century, it had, in turn, become the Christmas carol we know today. One author describes this traditional English carol as a catechetical mnemonic device that Catholics used to teach their children the truths of the faith during the years that Catholicism was suppressed in England. The song goes, “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…” The true love is God and the following are His presents:

The first one is the partridge in a pear tree which means Jesus Christ who died on a tree.
Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
Three French hens were faith, hope and love – three virtues of the Holy Spirit.
Four calling birds were the four Gospels which sing the song of salvation.
Five golden rings were the first five books of the Bible – the Pentateuch.
Six geese a-layin were the six days of Creation.
Seven swans-a-swimming were the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Eight maids a milking were the eight beatitudes.
Nine ladies dancing were the nine choirs of angels.
Ten lords a-leaping were the Ten Commandments.
Eleven pipers piping were the eleven faithful apostles, or the eleven stars seen by Joseph.
Twelve drummers drumming were the twelve articles of the Apostles Creed.

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