I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Technically we are still in the Christmas season. There actually is a 12 days of Christmas in Western Christianity, but it begins on Christmas Day, not before, and ends on January 6, which is known as Three Kings Day, or Epiphany. It’s the day the Three Wise Men arrived to honor Jesus.
We are all familiar with the secular song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and though the song is titled thus, it is actually a secular song. The original poem goes back to before 1780 when it was printed in an English children's book and was not put to music until 1909. Though the rumor of a "secret code" in the song has been around since the 1990's, it has never been documented to be true. The rumor is that after the Reformation in England, persecuted Catholics taught their children the catechism using the poem’s imagery as symbols relevant to their faith.
The symbolic nature is as follows:
The partridge in a pear tree is supposed symbolizing Jesus
2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, hope, and charity, as the principle theological virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels |
5 Golden Rings = The first five books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch,” which gives the history of man’s fall from grace
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation (highlighting life)
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the Ten Commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed
It’s an interesting theory, a good bit more romantic and mysterious than tit simply being a fun Christmas song written for children.
What is interesting is that for 37 years PNC has calculated the cost of all the gifts in the 12 days of Christmas. In 2020, there was a substantial drop of 58.5% from last years cost to $16,168.14. They claim it is due to the adjustments for the pandemics impact on the cost of purchasing the gifts... primarily due to unemployed dancers, pipers, and drummers.
Today would be the 5th day... and I look forward to receiving five golden rings. 😁 Regardless of what you believe about it's meaning, it is a fun song. Here is a version from Pentatonix released about a month ago...