12daysHave you ever heard of that “12 Days of Christmas” song? [Note: This story has been edited from its original form to promote a more sensitive reader experience in certain contries.] According to some opinions, people often think of The Twelve Days of Christmas as the days preceding the festival.  Actually, Christmas is a season of the Christian Year that starts December 25 and continues until January 6, the Day of Epiphany, when the church celebrates the revelation of Christ as the light of the world and recalls the journey of the Magi.

Now I know that Snopes would call it a fanciful explanation. Read the “cold water” at…

http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/music/12days.asp

So truth is, perhaps none of the following is true. :-) However, after a thorough reading of the Snopes site, I’m convinced that *nobody* really knows for sure the background of this song. So — why not indulge in just a *little* imagination at Christmas time? :-) Besides, all those facts at Wikipedia seem so… *cold* and sterile. :-) So … with positively no historical backing at all, here’s the *real* meaning of the 12 Days of Christmas:

You see, [Storybook mode ON] [pulling up a chair by the fireplace, as if reading a story to your kids] once upon a time in a land far away, according to legend, there was an era when Christians didn’t feel safe speaking openly about their faith. According to the story, someone wrote ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ as a kind of secret message that could be sung in public without risk of persecution.  The song has two levels of interpretation: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of the church.

Each element in the carol is a code word for a religious reality.

The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ.

The two turtledoves are the Old and New Testaments.

Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love.

The four calling birds are the four Gospels.

The five gold rings recall the torah (Law) the first five books of the Old Testament.

The six geese a-laying stand for the six days of creation.

Seven swans a-swimming represent the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit.

The eight maids a-milking are the eight beatitudes.

Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the spirit (Gal.5).

The ten lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments.

Eleven pipers piping stand for the eleven faithful disciples.

Twelve drummers drumming symbolize the 12 points of belief in the Apostles Creed.

There you have it, the HIDDEN meaning of “The Twelve Days of

Christmas” and the secret behind the song.

Either way (legend or truth), it’s a fair reminder of some great numbers that lead us up to this coming Friday — when, speaking of numbers, we can wish the 10,000 participants in Brigada a very blessed Christmas!!!!

Doug

PS. [Storybook mode OFF] :-)

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