Saturday, December 26, 2009

The 12 Days of Christmas Reminders

Some historians believe that The 12 Days of Christmas had hidden religious meanings. At first listening, The 12 Days of Christmas sounds like a delightful Children's nonsense song. But . . . .  In England, from the mid-1500s through 1829, Catholics were denied any private or public practice of their religion. In The 12 Days of Christmas you can find reminders to help children (and adults!) learn the doctrines of their faith.

For example, "true love" doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, rather to God Himself. Likewise, the "me" in the song, the one who receives the gifts in each verse, is actually any baptized person, a member of the family of Christ. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ. As will a mother partridge, Christ gathers His chicks under His wings for loving protection. Each of the 12 days of Christmas represents an aspect of Christianity that we should learn (know) - even if these things had to be learned in secret.


  • A Partridge in a pear tree -- Jesus Christ, who gathers his own under his wings -- God's first gift.
  • Two Turtle Doves -- represents the sacrifice of the Jewish family at the birth of a son (also: The Old and New Testaments)
  • Three French Hens -- The Gifts of the Magi (also: The Blessed Trinity; also: Faith, Hope and Love)
  • Four Calling Birds -- The Four Gospels (also: the Four Evangelists who wrote the Gospels)
  • Five Golden Rings -- The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the Torah.
  • Six Geese A-laying -- The six days of creation
  • Seven Swans A-swimming -- The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and the seven sacraments of the Church
  • Eight Maids A-milking -- The eight beatitudes (also: the eight persons saved in the Ark)
  • Nine Ladies Dancing -- The nine Fruits of the Spirit Galatians 5:22    (also: kinds or ranks of angels)
  • Ten Lords A-leaping -- The Ten Commandments
  • Eleven Pipers Piping --  The eleven faithful apostles
  • Twelve Drummers Drumming -- The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles' Creed & the Apostles altogether & the gates of heaven (Revelation 21:12)  & the tribes of Isreal 

The Church Calendar 12 Days of Christmas:

December 25, Solemnity of CHRISTMAS 

December 26, Feast of St. Stephen

December 27, Feast of Saint John
December 28, Feast of the Holy Innocents
December 29, Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas
December 30, Feast of the Holy Family
December 31, Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas
January 1, Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
January 2, St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen
January 3, Most Holy Name of Jesus
January 4, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
January 5, St. John Neumann
January 6, Solemnity of the Epiphany


GrandmaK said...

I do so love our liturgical tradition! Thank you for bringing it to fore. God bless and have a grand day! Cathy

Soutenus said...

Thank you, Cathy. I so love to celebrate the Christmas season.
A wish for Christ's joy abundant to you and yours!

bridget {bake at 350} said...

My husband just found this info last week...I love it! Gives a whole new meaning to the song, doesn't it?!?

Sorry we missed you. Let's try to get together in 2010!!! ;)

Soutenus said...

Bridget, Yes! It does give new meaning to the song! Pablo is enjoying learning the song now that he has this "secret code"!

We are looking forward to getting together with you guys in 2010.
My fingers are going to have to get used to typing 2010. Feels strange.


Paola said...

Merry Christmas

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