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Home : About Christmas : 12 Days of Christmas

 


Twelve days of Christmas basically marks the beginning for the celebration of one of the widely celebrated events of the year. Twelve days of christmas are the festive days from Christmas until the beginning of Epiphany.

The actual traditions have been changed by the churches and diffferent sects of Christianity during the years, but the fact remains that twelve days of christmas is widely celebrated round the world in varying ways.

In the western church, Epiphany is celebrated as the time the Wise Men arrived to present gifts to the young Jesus (Matt. 2:1-12). The narrations in bible do not mention how many magis arrived, but it is practically assumed that there were three magis from the fact of three gifts. January 6th is observed as Three Kings Day, or simply the Day of the Kings Even though December 25th is celebrated as Christmas in these cultures, January 6th is often the day for giving gifts. In some places it is traditional to give Christmas gifts for each of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

By the 16th century, some European and Scandinavian cultures had combined the Twelve Days of Christmas with (sometimes pagan) festivals celebrating the changing of the year. These were usually associated with driving away evil spirits for the start of the new year.

January 5th is the 12th night. Its the the last day of the Christmas Season before Epiphany (January 6th). In some church traditions, January 5th is considered the eleventh Day of Christmas, while the evening of January 5th is still counted as the Twelfth Night, the beginning of the Twelfth day of Christmas the following day. Twelfth Night often included feasting along with the removal of Christmas decorations. French and English celebrations of Twelfth Night included a King's Cake, remembering the visit of the Three Magi, and ale or wine. In some cultures, the King's Cake was part of the celebration of the day of Epiphany.

The origin of the song "The Twelves days of Christmas" is basically fraught with questions. Yet it is regarded as a device to teach the catechism to youngsters. The "true love" mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself.The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the "days" represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn. Its an English Xmas song which enumerates a series of grandiose gifts given on each of the 12 days of Christmas. It has been one of the most popular and most-recorded Cristmas songs in America and Europe throughout the past century.

The first performance of the song is not known, though the song was first publicated in 1780, in a book called "Mirth without Mischief". The song is as followed :-

The Twelve Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
A partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the third day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree!

The Twelve days symbols


1st Day: The partridge in a pear tree is Christ Jesus upon the Cross. The tree is the symbol of the fall of the human race through the sin of Adam and Eve. True Love refers to God

2nd Day: Turtle Doves - The Old and New Testaments

3rd Day: Three French Hens - Faith, Hope, and Love

4th Day: The "four calling birds" refers to the four evangelists. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John - which proclaim the Good News of God's reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.

5th Day: Golden Rings - The first five books of the Bible, also called the Jewish Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

6th Day: Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation.

7th Day: TSeven swans a-swimming - seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.

8th Day: Eight maids a milking - 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, those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake - eight beatitudes listed in the Sermon on the Mount.

9th Day: Nine ladies dancing - nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23): love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

10th Day: Ten lords a-leaping - Ten commandments (Exodus 20:1-17): You shall have no other gods before me; Do not make an idol; Do not take God's name in vain; Remember the Sabbath Day; Honor your father and mother; Do not murder; Do not commit adultery; Do not steal; Do not bear false witness; Do not covet.

11th Day: Eleven pipers piping - eleven faithful Apostles (Luke 6:14-16): Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James bar Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas bar James.

12th Day: Drummers Drumming - the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed:
1. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth,
2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord,
3. Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell.
5. The third day he rose again from the dead;
6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
7. From there he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
8. I believe in the Holy Spirit,
9. I believe in the holy catholic church, the communion of saints,
10. The forgiveness of sins,
11. The resurrection of the body,
12. And the life everlasting. Amen.
 


 
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