Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.
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 that won’t come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas? And so I done the research to find out.
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. For the Catholic Church, during that time in England, every day was a dark and stormy night.
The song has two levels of meaning. The surface meaning , that is to say just the words alone. Then another meaning, a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the song 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 & 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.
So that’s your history for today. This knowledge was passed to me and I found it interesting and enlightening. I now know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol… so pass it on if you choose to do so this Christmas Eve.
From the EastWing, Those Twelve Days That We All Know, Or Do We?
This Christmas Eve, I Wish You Well,