FAQ for Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas

author unknown but the origin of the song is believed to come from the 16th Century

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

The History of The Twelve Days of Christmas

Taken from: http://www.coolquiz.com/trivia/explain/docs/12days.asp

"The Twelve Days of Christmas are the twelve days between Christmas Day, December 25, and Epiphany, January 6.

These twelve days were memorialized in a popular song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas," written by a gentleman named Drennon.

During the period 1558 to 1829, it was a crime to be a Catholic in England. Catholics were prohibited from any practice of their faith by law - private or public. Anyone caught with things that associated him with Catholicism, such as religious writings, would be severely punished. Devotion to the Catholic faith could get you imprisoned, hanged, or beheaded.

Drennon wrote the "Twelve Days of Christmas" as one of the "catechism songs" to teach young Catholics the tenets of their faith in song, instead of in written form.

It was a great memory tool that aided them in the learning of their faith while still hiding the fact that they were still practicing Catholicism. Drennon helped to prevent these young Catholics from being punished for reading religious books.

Each of the gifts given in this song has a hidden meaning intended to help teach and preserve the Catholic faith. For instance, the "true love" mentioned in the song does not refer to an earthly lover--it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the gift refers to every baptized person. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge who fakes injury to lure predators from her helpless nestlings, much in memory of the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so..."

The other symbols mean the following:
2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity-- the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which relays the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of Creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy 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

The Twelve Days of Christmas differ very little from other religious celebrations, in that they give us a reason to celebrate and exchange gifts.

Initially, people carefully meted out their gifts during the course of the twelve days, as Drennon's song reflects, to avoid a glut of presents on Christmas Day.

This old-fashioned approach to gift-giving eventually gave way to today's practice of exchanging gifts on Christmas Day."

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