The song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is an English Christmas carol in code From 1558 until 1829. The Scottish Reformation then British made it illegal for Roman Catholics in England to practice their faith openly. Notice that many came to America to practice their religion freely during that time. The reason for the Constitution to separate Church and State so the government would not interfere with one’s faith.

Someone during that era wrote the 12 Days of Christmas as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to Church members. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember the “True Love.” One hears in the song is not a smitten boy or girlfriend but Jesus Christ, because truly Love was born on Christmas Day. The partridge in the pear tree also represents Him because a mother bird is willing to sacrifice its life if necessary to protect its young by feigning injury to draw away predators. Here in America today, some wish to stop Christians from practicing their faith. In the future, we may see more coded songs and home churches.

Here are the lyrics and their meaning. 

A Partridge in a Pear Tree is said to represent Jesus Christ (a mother partridge is willing to die while protecting her young, and is given on “the first day of Christmas” since the first of the twelve days falls on Christ’s birthday

Two Turtle Doves symbolize both the Old and the New Testaments. Three French Hens stand for faith, hope, and love. Four Calling Birds are the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Five Golden Rings represent the Pentateuch—the first five books of the Old Testament. Six Geese-a-Laying are the six days of creation (before the seventh day of rest). Seven Swans-a-Swimming symbolize the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prophecy, serving, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, and mercy. Eight Maids-a-Milking are the eight Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-10). Nine Ladies Dancing represent the fruit of the Spirit (according to Galatians 5:22-23): Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Ten Lords-a-Leaping are the Ten Commandments. Eleven Pipers Piping stand for the eleven faithful disciples. Twelve Drummers Drumming, finally, symbolize the twelve points of belief stated in the Apostles’ Creed.

I hope you enjoyed the decoding and give you added joy when hear the song this Christmas.