The Twelve Days of Christmas  

Secret Meaning of the Song

THE HISTORY

The Twelve Days of Christmas was supposedly written* during the 16th century religious wars of England. It was used as a tool to secretly teach children the basic doctrines of the Christian faith. The true love represents God, me represents the believer in Jesus Christ, and the partridge represents Jesus Christ. The song presents Jesus Christ as a mother partridge covering her chicks, recalling the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . " (Luke 13:34).

THE SONG

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me=My true love is symbolic of God the Father.

A partridge in a pear tree=Jesus Christ (The pear tree is symbolic of the cross).

Two turtle doves=The Old and New Testaments.

Three French hens=Faith, hope and love. (1 Co 13:13)

Four calling birds=The Gospels. (Mt, Mk, Lk and Jn)

Five golden rings=The first five books of the Bible. (Ge, Ex, Lev, Nu, Deut)

Six geese a laying=The days of creation. (Ge 1:1-31)

Seven swans a swimming=Gifts of the Holy Spirit. (Ro 12:6-8, 1 Co 12:7-11)

Eight maids a milking=The Beatitudes. (Mt 5:1-12)

Nine ladies dancing=The Fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Gal 5:22-23)

Ten lords a leaping=The Ten Commandments. (Ex 20:1-17)

Eleven pipers piping=The eleven faithful disciples. (Lk 6:14-16) Not including Judas, the betrayer. 

Twelve drummers drumming=The beliefs listed in the Apostles Creed.

* Some believe the history of the song is a myth. However, even if it wasn't used during religious persecution, it can be used today as an effective tool for teaching basic Christian creeds.

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