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NOTE
......This is not a true story......
Someone got the bright idea to give it a reason for existing.
But, let it be known that this is not in Catholic history.
It is only the good imagination of someone who thought
it would help make some sense out of this lyric.





Twelve Days of Christmas

What in the world do
leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans,
and especially the partridge who won't come out of the pear tree
have to do with Christmas?


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
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
Mercy
The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
The nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
Love
Joy
Peace
Patience
Kindness
Goodness
Faithfulness
Gentleness
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.


And that's the story of how that strange song became a Christmas Carol...

and now that you know that it has nothing to do with Catholicism
you can just enjoy the song!



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