Christmas the Mystery

There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me.
What in the world do leaping lords, French hens,
swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

This week, I found out.

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.

So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas pass it on if you wish.'

Merry (Twelve Days of) Christmas Everyone

A few days late but whos counting :rendeer:
The only mystery i have found about Xmas is the hell to get a taxis home on xmas eve after a skinfull. Now there is a miracle!!!!!!!!!!!! :money:
Bisley said:
The only mystery i have found about Xmas is the hell to get a taxis home on xmas eve after a skinfull. Now there is a miracle!!!!!!!!!!!! :money:
Bisley, I have long been victim to the mystery of the Beer Tardis or Booze scooter, arriving home before I left the pub, with a kebab in my pocket and no idea how I got there. One New year, I left the club at four, and got home at one, got a good kip in and turned to at seven with no hangover....and no clue where I left £150 and 18 bottles of tart fuel with six double capt morgans.

Isn't religious reality a contradiction in terms....? I found a slightly different interpretation of the lyrics, interesting if you are looking for other carols to go bother people with...(it also has playable songs if you are in the office and want to start a fight)


Religious symbolism of The Twelve Days of Christmas (The 12 Days of Christmas)

1 True Love refers to God
2 Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming refers to the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed
Sapphire said:
Interesting... although I have often wondered about the carol 'I saw three ships'.
I saw three ships!

The origins of I saw three ships are unknown but it is believed to be an English carol from the Victorian era. The theme for I saw three ships is extremely optimistic and the repetition rate of the chorus lines of I saw three ships ensure that the carol will be well remembered. Author of the lyrics and composer of the music for I saw three ships is unknown.
I've never heard Ships-cats version but I had The_Jimmy's version beaten into me at school by penguins - or they may have been nuns. :thumright:
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