We all know there’s got to be some beginnings to the traditions we hold so dear during this season. Although, there may not be any unarguable cases, it’s very refreshing to get going in the right direction. Plus who doesn’t enjoy some Christmas history? It’ll bring much more meaning to your Holiday. Over the next couple weeks, I’ll be exploring some of these timeless customs. Today, specifically, I’ll share the truth about the infamous carol, the Twelve Days of Christmas.
Perhaps among the more popular Christmas carols, is the Twelve Days of Christmas. Ever wonder why anyone needed 11 pipers piping? I sure don’t expect to be receiving birds for Christmas either…
So what’s the deal with the excess number of geese you may ask? Well, truth be told, they aren’t really geese. Or pipers piping. Or any kinds of birds for that matter.
During the Reformation period, the Catholics saw a need for their children to be taught the doctrines of their faith. Since this was publicly prohibited (& resulted in gruesome death), a song with hidden meaning quickly became the supposed solution. My true love is actually referring to God & these are the twelve gifts He gave the world-
1. A Partridge in a Pear Tree: Jesus Christ Dying on the Cross
2. Two Turtledoves: The Old & New Testament
3. Three French Hens: The Three Vitrues, Faith, Hope, & Charity
4. Four Calling Birds: The Four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John
5. Five Golden Rings: The Pentateuch, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, & Deuteronomy
6. Six Geese-a-Laying: The Six Days of Creation
7. Seven Swans-a-Swimming: The Seven Sacraments, Seven Gifts of the Spirit
8. Eight Maids-a-Milking: The Beatitudes
9. Nine Ladies Dancing: The Fruits of the Spirit
10. Ten Lords-a-Leaping: The Ten Commandements
11. Eleven Pipers Piping: The Faithful Apostles/Disciples
12. Twelve Drummers Drumming: The Twelve Points of the Apostle’s Creed
This could be old news to you. Maybe you learned something; maybe I bored you half to death. Either way, it’s interesting & now you’ll know what your caroling was actually meant for! Happy Holidays y’all!
PS: Look out for Part II tomorrow! I’ll share what I’ve learned about the literal Twelve Days of Christmas. Wouldn’t that be nice? A 12 day long celebration rather than the 1 or 2 we now consider normal!