“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” Matthew 16:18
Throughout the history of the Catholic Church, countless faithful have experienced persecution and even martyrdom for the faith. Countless tyrants have promised to destroy the Church with such a profession filled with hubris. However, as we see in the gospel of Matthew, Christ Our King promised that such an idea would not pass. In England from 1558 to 1829, all English Catholics were forbidden to publicly practice the faith. Much of this had to do with the bad blood initiated from the Protestant Reformation. English monarchs like devout Catholic Mary Queen of Scotts was known for having heretics including Thomas Cranmer executed. Cranmer allegedly repented prior to execution, but Queen Mary wanted to make an example of him. One thing that can be certain and here’s a lesson we can all learn: English Catholics were creative in teaching the faith to their children, since 12 Days of Christmas was a mini catechism for children to learn their faith. Below is what each day of Christmas represents:
1st Day of Christmas: Partridge in a Pear Tree = Jesus Christ, Son of God
2nd Day of Christmas: Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3rd Day of Christmas: French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4th Day of Christmas: Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5th Day of Christmas: Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch”, which gives the history of man’s fall from grace.
6th Day of Christmas: Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7th Day of Christmas: Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8th Day of Christmas: Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9th Day of Christmas: Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10th Day of Christmas: Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11th Day of Christmas: Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12th Day of Christmas: Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed
So why twelve days ? It’s exactly twelve days between Christmas Day December 25th and the Epiphany January 6 (Day of the Three Magi or Three Wise Men). All this is in the Catholic calendar. So my friends people around the world are singing a Catholic song based on some English Catholic history.