Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Twelve Days of Christmas

For Christians, this Christmas carol is a catechism song.

It has two levels of meaning, the surface meaning and a hidden meaning. Each element in the carol is a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

My "true love" refers to God, and "me" is the individual.

 The "partridge" is the piece de resistance, Jesus himself, and the "pear tree" is the Cross.

The "two turtle doves" represent the two natures in Jesus:  human and divine or the two Testaments, Old and New.

The "three French hens" are the Three Persons in God or the three gifts of the Wise Men.

The "four calling birds" are the four Gospels of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John.

The "five golden rings" are the first five books of the Old Testament called the Torah which are generally considered the most sacred and important of all the Old Testament.

The "six geese a-laying" stand for the six days of creation.

"Seven swans a swimming" represent the Seven Sacraments.

The "eight maids a-milking" are the eight Beatitudes.

The "nine ladies dancing" are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit named in Galatians 5.

The "ten lords a-leaping" are the Ten Commandments.

"Eleven pipers piping" stand for eleven faithful Apostles.

Finally, the "twelve drummers drumming" symbolize the twelve articles of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

 The Twelve Days of Christmas celebrates the official Christmas season which starts liturgically on Christmas Day and ends twelve days later on the Feast of the Epiphany.

 I hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas!

The best is yet to come!



cjsullivan133 said...

Wow. I love these Terri. It touches my heart that you know all this. I learn something very cool every Christmas on your blog.

Anonymous said...

This was fun - I had no idea what the lyrics meant. Interesting. I hope your holiday was wonderful! xo

helen tilston said...

Hello Terri

A beautiful reminder and you have me reaching for the Bible to read some more.

Thank you and wishing you a week full of the goodness of Christmas



Anonymous said...

I hate to be the bad guy but this is not true. These ideas were first introduced in the late '70 and then on line in '95 or so. It's a nicenthought though

Karena said...

Terri, you always enlighten and surprise me!

Wishing you a wondrous Holiday and All the best in the year ahead!

Love and Hugs,
Art by Karena

Acquired Objects said...

This was a great post Terri I had no idea the song meant this much. Thank you for sharing this it truly means something more to me now.


Leslie said...

I had forgotten the religious meaning of the twelve days! Such an enlightening post;)

The best IS yet to come!

Happy holidays and wishing you the best in the New Year!

Patricia said...

Thank you for this beautiful post!

I learned the true meaning of the words to this song back in elementary school in the '60s but had forgotten it. Thanks for this reminder!

I seldom comment but I always read your blog. Your family, your home and of course, YOU, are all fabulous!

Merry Twelve Days of Christmas to you and yours!

Anonymous said...

People often think of the Twelve Days of Christmas as the days preceding the festival. Actually, Christmas is a season of the Christian Year that last for days beginning December 25 and lasting 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.

From 1558 until 1829 Catholics in England were not allowed to practice their faith openly. During this era someone wrote 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' as a kind of secret catechism that could be sung in public without risk of persecution. The song has two levels of interpretation: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of the church.

The next time you hear the Twelve Days of Christmas remember there is meaning behind the message of the classic Christmas song.

savvycityfarmer said...

I'm sure home is buzzing with cozy moments

dear friend of mine ...

you are loved ...


The Silver Bunny said...

What a wonderful and informative post. The illustrations are beautiful too ; thank you !

Mona Thompson Providence Ltd. said...

Happy New Year, Teri. I wish you a happy healthy 2013! Cheers! Mona

Alexandra Rae said...

I love that! I went to Catholic school and never heard this before. And beautifully presented as usual :) Hope you had a Merry Christmas!

WhiteWhispers2u said...

That's Fabulous!Thanks for sharing what a great post.Happy New Year! ~Cheers & Blessings Kim

designchic said...

What a fun post - so hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wishing you every happiness in the new year!!

debra @ 5th and state said...

this is beautiful teresa. this parochial school girl never knew this, for shame!!

blessings to you for a great '13

with love