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December 24, 2007

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My Love’s 12 days of Christmas – but do you know why?

by quaesitor

This has been doing the web rounds – but in case you haven’t seen it, here it is: the 12 days of Christmas as you’ve never heard it before (with the Serengeti thrown in). Genius.

But did you know what this carol actually means? Well according to my only just recently moved on colleague, Paul Blackham, there is a lot more to this carol than first meets the eye (or ear for that matter):

It has got to be the most theologically intense Christmas song. I know that might sound odd… but it is a song written as a memory aid to teach Christian doctrine. It is one of several songs called “catechism songs”. I’m sure some already know this, but here is a complete list of the 12 gifts and their meanings:

  • 1 Partridge in a pear tree = Jesus on the Cross
  • 2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
  • 3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity (Some think this is The Trinity, but this is not the case)
  • 4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
  • 5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the books of Moses
  • 6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
  • 7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit OR the seven sacraments of the Catholic faith
  • 8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes (from the start of the Sermon on the Mount)
  • 9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the 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

Sadly, the carol’s Wiki page rather dismisses such an interpretation. But Paul has a PhD and knows about such things – so I’m going with him on this one.

 

A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OUR READERS!

 

SEE YOU IN 2008 – we’re off for a week’s blogging-free break

 

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