Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hidden Meanings: The 12 Days of Christmas

I used to think that this Christmas carol was a little strange.  How do you relate these things (like leaping lords, French hens, golden rings, partridge in a pear tree) to Christmas?

Christmas is a season of the Christian Year that lasts for several days beginning December 25 and until January 6 - the Day of Epiphany, when the church celebrates the revelation of Christ as the light of the world and recalls the journey of the Magi.  That would equal to 12 days.
From 1558 until 1829, the Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a secret catechism that can be sung publicly without the fear of being persecuted. 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.

1.The partridge in a pear tree refers to  Jesus Christ.

2. Two turtle doves represent the Old and New Testaments.

3. Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love.

4. The four calling birds represent the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

5. The five golden rings recall the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

6. The six geese a-laying refer to the six days of creation.

7. Seven swans a-swimming represent the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit–Prophesy, Serving,  Teaching,    Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

8. The eight maids a-milking represent the eight beatitudes.

9. Nine ladies dancing stand for the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit–Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

10. The ten lords a-leaping are the ten commandments.

11. The eleven pipers piping stand for the eleven faithful apostles.

12. The twelve drummers drumming symbolize the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles’ Creed.

(Resource:  Waldorf Without Walls)


Super Deej said...

WOW! Awesome information! Thanks..I learned!

Want exchange links?

misterdicious said...

hmm, very interesting.. thanks for sharing the info :)

Mel Cole said...

Wow, what a nice vest! Gear up kana for winter too i bought a snow-suit and boots.

Nash said...

ahaha I learned the "true and hidden" meaning of the song wayback 2nd year college with my Art Appreciation professor.

Check out my podcast!

scribbler said...

@Mister Llama, misterdicious, MelCole and Nash -- thanks for the visit and the comments!! I appreciate it..

Merry Christmas to you all.. Mwah!!

Super Deej said...

Merry Christmas din po!

Hello! Check out my blogroll...See if you are listed..

puzzle said...

WOW! Songs really do come from something! Merry Christmas!

Jayce said...

Nice to know that. BTW, Merry Christmas. :)

Super Deej said...

hello! visiting u back...Looking for new something new...=]