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Sunday, December 11, 2011

The twelve days of christmas...

I received an email yesterday with some interesting facts about the popular Christmas song, 'The Twelve Days of Christmas'.

Sorry about how dark this is..St James our family parish church

"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 & 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."

St John's another one of the churches in our parish; decorated for Advent

Father Jack checking the microphone before the service
 When I read that first bit about Catholics in Britain not being able to openly practise their religion right up to 1829, I thought 'what rubbish!' But it's true! I looked it up and Catholics couldn't vote, enter certain professions or sit in parliament until the laws were changed in 1829. So there you have it...a bit of trivia about an old song.


Linn said...

Funny that you should write about that. At our children's end of year concert year 5 did an item about just that - what the Twelve Days of Christmas was really all about. Amazing, I had never heard of it before and now twice in one month!

Anonymous said...

very interesting