The twelve Days of
From 1558 to 1829 Roman Catholics in England were
not able to practice their faith openly so they had
to find other ways to pass on their beliefs. The
song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is one example
of how they did it.
"The 12 Days of Christmas" is in a sense an
allegory. Each of the items in the song represents
something of religious significance. The hidden
meaning of each gift was designed to help young
Christians learn their faith.
The song goes, "On the first day of Christmas my
true love gave to me..." The "true love" represents
God and the "me" who receives these presents is the
The "partridge in a pear tree" was Jesus Christ who
died on a tree as a gift from God.
The "two turtle doves" were the Old and New
Testaments - another gift from God.
The "three French hens" were faith hope and love -
the three gifts of the Spirit that abide (I
The "four calling birds" were the four Gospels which
sing the song of salvation through Jesus Christ.
The "five golden rings" were the first five books of
the Bible also calledthe "Books of Moses."
The "six geese a-laying" were the six days of
The "seven swans a swimming" were "seven gifts of
the Holy Spirit." (I
Corinthians 12:8-11, Romans 12, Ephesians 4, 1 Peter
The "eight maids a milking" were the eight
The "nine ladies dancing" were nine fruits of the
Holy Spirit.(Galatians 5:22-23) The "ten lords
a-leaping" were the Ten Commandments.
The "eleven pipers piping" were the eleven faithful
The "twelve drummers drumming" were the twelve
points of the Apostles' Creed