12 Days of Christmas: The Other Catechism

“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.

Dominus vobiscum

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *