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Twelve Days of Christmas Carol…..it’s Origin! Researched by Fr Kevin Walsh Advent Week 1. 2012.

29 Nov

Do check out Fr Kevin Walsh’s Realhomilie for every Sunday of the Year. It is posted every Thursday Night, Australian Eastern Standard Time. www.realhomilies.com

THE HISTORY OF THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS.

Dear One and All,

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 that won’t come out of the pear tree, have to do with Christmas?

From 1558 until 1829,  Catholics in England were not permitted to practise their faith openly.  The song has two levels of meaning:  the surface meaning, plus the hidden meaning, known only to members of their church.  Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality, which children could remember.

The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

Two turtledoves were the Old and New Testament.

Three French hens stood for faith, hope and charity.

Four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Five golden rings recalled the torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

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.

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.

Ten lords a leaping were the Ten Commandments.

Eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

Twelve drummers drumming symbolised the twelve points of belief in the Apostles Creed.

So there is your history lesson for today.  This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening.  So I now share it with you.  Now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol.

May God grant you peace and happiness throughout this Advent Season. Fr Kev    

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On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me A partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Ten lords a-leaping, Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Eleven pipers piping, Ten lords a-leaping, Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Twelve drummers drumming, Eleven pipers piping, Ten lords a-leaping, Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree!

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