The Twelve Days of Christmas

I love the Twelve Days of Christmas, the days between Christmas Day and Epiphany or Three Kings Day.  There’s disagreement about whether the 12 days end the day before Epiphany or on Epiphany, but I happen to like the idea of ending on the 6th of January, so that’s what I go with. Either way, it means we keep our Christmas decorations up until the 6th and keep singing carols.

A while back someone told me that the words to the song The Twelve Days of Christmas had some sort of meaning for young children learning their Catechism. Wikipedia reports this is a myth, but that’s ok, I think it’s a cute idea. It goes something like this:

  1. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus
  2. The turtle doves are the Old and New Testaments
  3. Three french hens are faith, hope and charity
  4. Four calling birds are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the four Gospels
  5. Five golden rings are the first five books of the Old Testament
  6. Six geese a-laying are the six days of the creation of the world
  7. Seven swans a-swimming are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
  8. The eight maids a-milking are the eight beatitudes 
  9. The nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
  10. The ten lords a-leaping are the ten commandments
  11. Eleven pipers piping are the eleven faithful apostles
  12. The twelve drummers drumming refers to the doctrine listed in the Apostles Creed

Personally, I think this song is hard to remember and it would be easier to remember the info without the song, but that might just be me🙂

4 comments

  1. We do similar. Our tree goes up (with lights since it is prelit) on the 1st Sunday of Advent, but we actually decorate it on Christmas Eve, leaving it up for the entire Christmas season.

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