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  • twelve days of Christmas

    IF YOU DONT LIKE IT DONT READ IT!!!!


    This is something that appeared in my church bulliten. I have not verified it so I dont know if its true BUT it is nice anyways. This is how it was printed/ no editing.


    The Twelve Days of Christmas

    There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge in the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

    From 1558 thru 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 code words for a religious reality, which the children could remember.

    The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus christ.
    Two turtledoves were the Old and New Testaments.
    Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
    The four calling birds were the four gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
    The five golden rings recalled the 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.

    So there is your history lesson 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....so pass it on if you wish... ........ .......... (i deleted his name)


    Like I said I am not sure if this is totally true or even if you could check it but it is something that was worth retelling.....
    Steve :-D

  • #2
    IF YOU DONT LIKE IT DONT READ IT!!!!


    This is something that appeared in my church bulliten. I have not verified it so I dont know if its true BUT it is nice anyways. This is how it was printed/ no editing.


    The Twelve Days of Christmas

    There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge in the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

    From 1558 thru 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 code words for a religious reality, which the children could remember.

    The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus christ.
    Two turtledoves were the Old and New Testaments.
    Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
    The four calling birds were the four gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
    The five golden rings recalled the 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.

    So there is your history lesson 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....so pass it on if you wish... ........ .......... (i deleted his name)


    Like I said I am not sure if this is totally true or even if you could check it but it is something that was worth retelling.....
    Steve :-D

    Comment


    • #3
      Steve,
      Thanks! I've heard of this but I've never seen it in writing with this kind of detail.

      Thanks again Steve. You've helped get me in the mood of the season. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

      God bless,
      NuTex

      Comment


      • #4
        Could someone remind me of the meaning behind the advent candles? We have one we use every year, and believe it or not, I always forget! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] We were supposed to light one of the purple ones tonight, but I couldn't remember what it was for!

        Comment


        • #5
          Here is One Pastor's opinion and information.

          RE Twelve Days, I have heard this before as well. It is nice. I do not know authenticity either, but suspect it is just legend. But who cares, I think it is nice anyway!

          ABout ADVENT CANDLES -- You should have four candles -- all purple, all blue, or three purple and one pink. These are simply separate traditions and either is okay. If you use the pink, it must be the third Sunday.

          Each candle represents one of the four Sundays of Advent, the sundays before Christmas Day. In 2003, Novebmer 30 is the first one. You light one candle on the first Sunday, that one plus another on the second, those first two plus a third and on the fourth Sunday you light all four.

          The candles should be placed in a circle, hopefully within a wreath. A cicle is a line that has no end, symbolizing eternal life. Greenery also symbolizes life in the midst of death, like evergreen trees in the dead of winter.

          There needs to be a white candle in the center of the wreath representing the Christ. It is NOT lit until Christmas Eve.

          EAch of the four Sundays can have a theme. There are different traditions, but the one I am most familiar with is this -- First Sunday is HOPE, second is PEACE, third is JOY (also called Gaudate Sunday, Latin for JOy) and the last is LOVE.

          As you light you can read a scripture, usually a prophet reading relating to the Messiah, sing a hymn or carol, or share or read a devotional thought.

          Advent basically means "coming". This four week period is a time of preparation and readiness for the coming of the Christ Child, the birth of the Messiah on Christmas.

          These are the basics. Glad to help any more if you like.

          Rev. Bob in Missouri
          [email protected]

          Comment


          • #6
            Almost certainly not true. The Urban Lengends Reference Pages has a lengthy article on this legend. An excerpt:

            quote:
            There is no substantive evidence to demonstrate that the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was created or used as a secret means of preserving tenets of the Catholic faith, or that this claim is anything but a fanciful modern day speculation, similar to the many apocryphal "hidden meanings" of various nursery rhymes. Moreover, several flaws in the explanation argue compellingly against it:


            • The key flaw in this theory is that the differences between the Anglican and Catholic churches were largely differences in emphasis and form which were extrinsic to scripture. Although Catholics and Anglicans used different English translations 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 sacraments) were shared by Catholics and Anglicans alike: both groups' Bibles included the Old and New Testaments, both contained the five books that form the Pentateuch, both had the Four Gospels, both included God's creation of the universe in six days as described in Genesis, and both enumerated the Ten Commandments. A Catholic might need to be wary of being caught with a Douai-Reims Bible, but there was absolutely no reason why any Catholic would have to hide his knowledge of any of the concepts supposedly symbolized in "The Twelve Days of Christmas," because these were basic articles of faith common to all denominations of Christianity. None of these items would distinguish a Catholic from a Protestant, and therefore none of them needed to be "secretly" encoded into song lest their mention betray one as a Catholic.

              Conversely, none of the important differences that would obviously distinguish a Catholic from a Protestant is mentioned here. A Catholic would have good reason not to possess or reveal anything that would indicate his allegiance to the Pope or his participation in the sacrament of penance (also known as Confession), but nothing of that nature is encapsulated in the explanation of the symbolism supposedly to be found in the "The Twelve Days of Christmas."


              If "The Twelve Days of Christmas" were really a song Catholics used "as memory aids to preserve the tenets of their faith" because "to be caught with anything in writing indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could get you imprisoned," how was the essence of Catholicism passed from one generation to the next? The mere memorization of a song with coded references to "the Old and New Testaments" in no way preserves the contents of those testaments. How was this preservation of content accomplished if possessing the testaments in written form was forbidden? Did Catholics memorize the entire contents of the Bible? Obviously not, and there was no reason to do so. Since Catholics and Anglicans both used the Old and New Testaments, possessing their contents in written form did not expose one as a Catholic, and thus there was no need to cloak common Biblical concepts through the use of mnemonic devices. There was no reason why "young Catholics" could not be openly taught about the Four Gospels or the eleven faithful apostles or the Ten Commandments.


              The utility of a Christmas song as a surreptitious means of memorizing a catechism would be quite limited, as its use would obviously be restricted to Christmastime. How was the supposedly forbidden catechism taught to children throughout the rest of the year? Where are the other rhymes and songs with similar hidden meanings that Catholics would had to have used for their catechism throughout the rest of the year?


              There are no obvious relationships between the concepts to be memorized and the symbols used to represent them in "The Twelve Days of Christmas." In what way do "eight maids a-milking" remind one of the Eight Beatitudes? How are "nine ladies dancing" supposed to bring the Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit to mind? (Yes, some interpreters have attempted to explain these relationships, but their explanations are so contrived and convoluted as to be beyond the grasp of the children who were supposed to be the primary beneficiaries of this alleged cathechism song.) Without any obvious relationships between the symbols and the concepts they symbolize, this song is no more useful as a "memory aid" than simply memorizing the numbers one through twelve would be.


              As one would expect to find in a folkloric explanation (rather than a factual one), there is a great deal of variation in the list of religious tenets supposedly symbolized in the song. The three French hens represent the three "theological virtues" (faith, hope, and charity), or the Holy Trinity, or the three gifts the Magi brought for the infant Jesus. The four calling birds are the Four Gospels, or the four major Old Testament prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel), or the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. The five golden rings are the five books of the Pentateuch, or the five decades of the rosary, or the five obligatory sacraments of the Church. A song used as a "memory aid" would have a fairly standard, fixed form, not variation upon variation.[/list]

            -Mark

            Comment


            • #7
              It's amazing the lengths people will go to complicate things.

              The 'twelve days of Christmas' are a part of the liturgical church calendar: from Christmas (December 25) through Epiphany (January 6). The song itself is a secular song celebrating this season.

              Sheesh.

              Comment

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