Another Christmas Song’s History

We’ve all heard the song Twelve Days of Christmas. To some it appears silly, to others, there is a deeper meaning. While no one knows the true history of this song, it has been said to have been written to help Catholics learn about Jesus during a time when Catholicism was illegal in England.

turtle dovesTwo Oriental Turtle Doves


In 1979, this song was first associated nationally with the trials of the Catholics during England’s ban.  Hugh D. McKellar wrote a short article declaring the meaning of the song. I thought I’d share those with you here today.

Partridge in a pear tree = Jesus Christ.

Two turtle doves = the Old and New Testaments.

Three French hens = faith, hope and love.

Four calling birds = the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

Five golden rings = first five books of the Old Testament.

Six geese a-laying = the six days of creation.

Seven swans a-swimming = the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit–Prophecy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

Eight maids a-milking = the eight beatitudes.

Nine ladies dancing = the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit–Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

Ten lords a-leaping = the Ten Commandments.

Eleven pipers piping = the eleven faithful disciples.

Twelve drummers drumming = the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.

Good luck getting the song out of your head today.

Like I said earlier, no one can be really sure if this is true, but I do find it fascinating to see the connection with Jesus. Since I’m a fan of the Muppets and John Denver, I thought I’d share their rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas below. I hope you enjoy it.

And if you or someone you know is in need of prayer, please let me know. I’ll be happy to pray for the situation.





  1. Wanda Callahan says:

    Kathy, this is great – I have never seen this before. Love it.

  2. Thanks, Wanda. I’m glad you enjoy.

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