The Twelve Days of Christmas

Hilarious takeoff on the traditional 12 Days of Christmas song known as The 12 Days After Christmas – an idea of what it might be like if you were really to receive the suggested gifts!
Many people think that the “Twelve Days of Christmas” refers to the 12 days leading up to Christmas but in reality, they refer to the time from Christmas to Epiphany – beginning on Christmas Day and the 12th day being January 5th, (hence where its name, Twelfth Night came from) the eve before Epiphany.  Epiphany is also known as the Three Kings Day for it is the day that we celebrate the arrival of the Wise Men to see the child Jesus and present Him with gifts.  In many countries, this is even the day that gifts are exchanged with others rather than on Christmas as this is strictly observed as a religious holiday.  In some cultures, they even light their Yule log on Christmas Day and let it burn until Epiphany.  More information about Epiphany next week!
Shrek’s 12 Days of Christmas
Of course, probably the most familiar reference to the Twelve Days of Christmas is found in the familiar song.  When you think about it, the song contains some very silly lyrics but there are some who claim that it is actually a song written in code.  The song was written in the 16th century – those who say it has a deeper meaning say that it was either written as a way of sharing and celebrating Christian beliefs in times and places where it would otherwise have been dangerous to do so or that it was written as a mnemonic device to assist children with memorizing the Catechism.  Depending on what references you check, this claim is said by some to merely be an internet rumour, but there are those in the Christian church who say that it is true and is a tradition that has been passed down through the church for centuries.  We may not ever be able to verify the accuracy of this claim but despite that, the meanings that have been associated with the song can still make for an interesting and meaningful story for Christians.
Muppets and John Denver singing The 12 Days of Christmas:
Here is the symbolism that the song is said to represent:
The “true love” – God and the “me” is the Christian receiving the gifts from God.
A partridge in a pear tree is said to represent Jesus.
The two turtle doves symbolize the Old and New Testaments.
Three French Hens = the 3 theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Four Calling Birds represent the 4 Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
Five Golden Rings symbolize the Torah/the Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Old Testament):  Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy
Six Geese A-Laying = the 6 days of creation (Genesis 1)
Seven Swans A-Swimming represent the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit: prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, compassion (1 Corinthians 12:8-11)
Eight Maids A-Milking symbolize the 8 beatitudes: Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. (Matthew 5:3-10)
Nine Ladies Dancing = the 9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22)
Ten Lords A-Leaping represent the 10 Commandments:  1) You shall have no other gods before me, 2) Do not make graven idols, 3) Do not take God’s name in van 4) Remember the Sabbath Day, 5) Honour your mother and father, 6) Do not commit murder, 7) Do not commit adultery, 8) Do not steal, 9) Do not bear false witness, 10) Do not covet (Exodus 20:1-17)
Eleven Pipers Piping symbolizes the 11 faithful Apostles: Simon Peter, Andew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James bar Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas bar James (this does not include Judas Iscariot for obvious reasons).
Twelve Drummers Drumming = the 12 points of doctrine in the Apostles’ 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. 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.
An article about the likelihood of finding a partridge in a pear tree in today’s typical North American environment:
This article outlines the cost of the of each of the 12 days of gifts if purchased in 2009 – the total would be: $21,465.56

Kirigami youtube – paper creations for each symbol in the 12 Days of Christmas  


2 responses to “The Twelve Days of Christmas

  1. Very nice. Great minds think alike. (See my “12 Days” posting at 101 Nights. Merry Christmas!

    Cheshire Dawn

  2. Pingback: Twelfth Night – Epiphany « Cyn's View of Reality

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