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 This is one Christmas carol that has always baffled me.

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Angel798
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PostSubject: This is one Christmas carol that has always baffled me.   Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:03 pm

What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?
 
Today I found out, thanks to the Internet.
 
From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics.
 
It has two levels of meaning:
 
The surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church.
 
Each element in the carol has a code word for a Religious reality which the children could remember.
 
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, and 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 10 lords a-leaping were the 10 commandments.
 
The 11 pipers piping stood for the 11 faithful disciples.
 
The 12 drummers drumming symbolized the 12 points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.
 
So, there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas carol...
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dinarling77
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PostSubject: Re: This is one Christmas carol that has always baffled me.   Sat Nov 30, 2013 3:08 pm

On the 2nd Day of Christmas my True Love Gave to Me!


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Kevind53
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PostSubject: Re: This is one Christmas carol that has always baffled me.   Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:21 pm

Lot's of speculation, but in reality the actual meaning has been lost in antiquity. Some claim a hidden code for Roman Catholics in England, but since the origin of the song appears to be France, this is unlikely. Best guess? An irreligious parody, perhaps tied to customs around the feast of Epiphany.

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Ponee
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PostSubject: Re: This is one Christmas carol that has always baffled me.   Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:00 pm

:rudolf:

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