The True Meaning of the Twelve Days of
During the years from 1558 until 1829, law
did not permit Roman Catholics in England to practice their religious
openly. Because of this, a song was written for young Catholics. This
carol that we sing today has two levels of meaning, the meaning we all
hear and understand but a hidden coded meaning for members of the
church. This code was to help Catholic children remember the religious
was as follows:
partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
turtledoves were the Old and New
French hens stood for faith, hope, and love.
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.
swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit:
Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and
eight maids a-milking were the
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.
- The twelve drummers drumming
symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.