The Catechism in The 12 Days of Christmas

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?

Roman Catholics were not permitted to practice their faith in the open in England during the period from 1558 until 1829. The 12 Days of Christmas was written during this time as a hidden catechism lesson for young Catholics. There is a hidden catholic equivalent for each of the 12 different symbols in the song.

The 12 Days of Christmas - Photo courtesy of Leo Reynolds cc-2.0

The 12 Days of Christmas – Photo courtesy of Leo Reynolds cc-2.0

  • The partridge in a pear tree = Jesus Christ in Heaven
  • Two turtle doves = the Old and New Testaments
  • Three French hens = faith, hope and love
  • Four calling birds = the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John
  • Five golden rings = the first five books of the Old Testament, also known as the Torah or Law
  • Six geese a-laying = the six days of creation (God rested on the 7th)
  • Seven swans a-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy
  • Eight maids a-milking = 

    Eight Beatitudes

    THE EIGHT BEATITUDES OF JESUS “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-10
  • Nine ladies dancing = the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control
  • Ten lords a-leaping = the ten commandments
  • Eleven pipers piping = the eleven faithful disciples
  • Twelve drummers drumming = 

    12 points of belief in the Apostle's Creed

    1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave]. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the holy catholic Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting.

 

 

 

 

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The Catechism in The 12 Days of Christmas. (2014, December 17). In ClassBrain Holidays. Retrieved 06:42, December 15, 2017, from http://classbrain.net/holidays/the-catechism-in-the-12-days-of-christmas/
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