With Christmas a week away I decided to just repost something I wrote last year for the time being:
With the holidays upon us, I have gotten myself so much into the mood that I have downloaded a few Christmas songs and made a few Cd's to listen to. So I decided to post a couple with little known facts over the next few days.
One of my favorite holiday songs happens to be the 12 Days of Christmas. I've heard many variations of the song over the years, but I will say the one with the Muppets singing is my all time favorite. Then a few years ago, I began to wonder what exactly inspired the 12 days of Christmas since most of the songs are generally a way to explain or sum up a story, such as the Little Drummer Boy or Silent Night. I always assumed that it was a celebration of the 12 days that led up to the 25th of December, but in all actuality the first day starts on Christmas and hence the Twelfth Night is January 5th, the last day of the Christmas Season before Epiphany (January 6th).
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not a religious person at all, I have always considered myself more spiritual instead. I have grown up respecting people's different religious views and garnering different perspectives from them. Therefore, when I found that the 12 Days of Christmas were more than a silly holiday song, I accepted it and moved on, all the while thinking it was kind of interesting to learn that it was possibly a song of Christian instruction dating to the 16th century religious wars in England, with hidden references to the basic teachings of the Faith.
From what I have found, the 12 Days of Christmas and the gifts that were given from the suitor's true love represented many symbols:
A Partridge in a Pear Tree refers to God
2 Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming refers to the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed
As I stated before, Religious or not, it makes the meaning of the song a little more interesting. Don't you think?