From 1558 until 1829, Protestants in England prohibited Catholic Christians from practicing their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this Carol as a Catechism song for young Catholic Christians.
It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of the 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 is Jesus Christ
-Two turtle doves are the Old and New Testaments.
-Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love.
-The four calling birds are 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 stand for the six days of creation.
-Seven swans a-swimming represent the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit – Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership and Mercy.
-The eight maids a-milking are the eight beatitudes.
-Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit–Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.
-The ten lords a-leaping are the ten commandments.
-The eleven pipers piping stand for the eleven faithful disciples.
-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Nicene Creed.
So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now you know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol…so pass it on if you wish.’
Cherish, keep and defend the Faith once delivered…
Merry (Twelve Days of) Christmas Everyone and May the rich blessings of God be upon you and your loved one’s