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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Partridge, Swans a Swimming, Leaping Lords, Huh?

For those that are following the "Life of a Sister Missionary" series, don't you fret.  More will come tomorrow, but today is Christmas.  It would only seem fitting to write something pertaining to this wonderful day.  So, strap on your thinking caps and tell me what the "12 Days of Christmas" carol is about.  Have you ever wondered that?  I know that I certainly have.  Last night the quest to find the answer to this question was finished.  A family I had dinner with shared the true meaning of the partridge in a pear tree, turtle doves, maids a-milking, and all the others in this seemingly silly song.  Here is the theory they shared with me from an email forward:

"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 and love.
-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and 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, and Mercy.
-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and 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.
So there is your history for today."
I hope this helps anyone who has also wondered about why this strange song became a Christmas Carol.  Merry Christmas

1 comment:

Elder Brian Menasco said...

Wow, I never knew there was a real meaning behind that song. That was very enlightening to know that this whole time there is a very vivid and profound connection with the Carol and Christmas!

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