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Meaning of the Twelve Days of Christmas

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partridge in a pear tree

The Twelve Days of Christmas is a popular holiday song. Have you ever wondered about the meaning of the lyrics of this melody? This is a guide about the meaning of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Solutions: Meaning of the Twelve Days of Christmas

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Tip: Twelve Days of Christmas Trivia

Many people think the Twelve Days of Christmas are the twelve days before Christmas, but actually they are the twelve days AFTER Christmas. The Twelve Days begin after Christmas and count on until January 6, the feast of the Epiphany (when the Three Kings arrived at the manger) and the traditional end of the Christmas season.

Another tip: stringing popcorn is a fun activity, but be sure to use stale popcorn to make the stringing easier. Fresh popcorn will break apart.

By Janet from Howell, MI

Tip: Meaning of the Twelve Days of Christmas

There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me.

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?

Now I know. 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.

By Chell from MO

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