Sunday, December 28, 2008

Twelve Days of Christmas

Most people are familiar with The Twelve Days of Christmas, but are not aware, as some others have also pointed out, that the song was originally written as a secret children's catechism during a time of great persecution for the Catholic Church in the British Isles:

-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.



At Sunday, December 28, 2008 11:24:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Devoid of logic and reason, blind faith proves wrong again:

"..they key flaw in this theory is that the difference between the Anglican and Catholic churches were largely differences in emphasis and form which were extrinsic to scripture. Although Catholics and Anglicans used different Enlgish transalations of the Bible (Douai-Reims and the King James version, respectively), all of the religious tenets supposedly preserved by the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" (with the possible exception of the number of sacramements) were shared by Catholics and Anglicans alike..." (link)

At Sunday, December 28, 2008 11:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said... (fixed link)

At Monday, December 29, 2008 11:22:00 AM, Blogger Steve Mule said...

"Anonymous said ..." seems to have nailed the whole story about the "12 Days of Christmas." A story I've heard before and until now I had no reason to doubt altho I also had no reason to give it any importance. A neat historically trivial factoid, and nothing more.
Part of the reason for the period of presecution of Catholics (1558 until 1829) had largely to do with the widely held belief that the English Catholics were more loyal to Rome (and by extension, Catholic Spain and France) than the English Throne itself. France and Spain were imperial rivals and friction/disputes/war were bound to happen regardless of religion. However, adding religion only excerbated the situation.
Our recent Preisdential election points out lingering (tho greatly atophied) aspects of this. Didn't you (and others) point out that Loyal, Obedient Catholics could not vote fro a certian candidate lest they loose their salvation? Is it really too much to understand (tho not necessairly approving of) of why the English government was suspicious of the Catholics in thier midst? Particualry, when one takes into consideration the attempt at invasion made by the Spanish Armada (1588)? Did trhe Spanish think the English Protostents would regard them as liberators? Perhaps the English Catholics would but ... and therein lies the belief of the English Catholics as a 5th Column.
Also would it have been unreasonable to have assumed that Spanish Inquistion (1478 - 1834) would not have followed in the wake of a successful Spanosh invasiona and resulted in "a time of great persecution for the" Anglican "Church in the British Isles"?
This makes it necessary to point out something else, very closely related: The absolute necessiatity of, and for, SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE.
Had Churc h and State been seperate during this time much, if not all, of this religous perscution would have been avoided since it would have been totally unnecessary. The conflicts between Spain and England would have been secular contests between empires and nothing more.



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