The Twelve Days of Christmas

Linda Dion
December 2021

I believe most of us know the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and we love to sing along, trying to remember all twelve elements of the song but apart from these lovely elements, there is a bit more to the song.  I decided to do a post on it and include it in the Dreams section because of its highly symbolic value.  There is a meaning to all of the symbols enumerated and some have said that they form a kind of catechesis for Catholics.  Let's see what each symbol means.

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me:

   a partridge in a pear tree = Jesus Christ

Swans 3.jpg
  • A Partridge in a Pear Tree - Jesus Christ

  • Two Turtle Doves - The Old and New Testaments

  • Three French Hens - The three virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity

  • Four Calling/Collie Birds - Four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

  • Five Golden Rings - First five books of the Old Testament

  • Six Geese-a-Laying - Six days of creation before God's rest on the seventh day

  • Seven Swans-a-Swimming - Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit

  • Eight Maids-a-Milking - Eight Beatitudes

  • Nine Ladies Dancing - Nine fruits of the Holy Spirit

  • Ten Lords-a-Leaping - Ten Commandments

  • Eleven Pipers Piping - Eleven faithful disciples

  • Twelve Drummers Drumming -Twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed