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The twelve 12 days of christmas carol

Christmas Customs
A Traditional Xmas Carol
The Twelve Days of Christmas

By Pauline Weston Thomas for Fashion-Era.com

 

Christmas Customs - A Traditional Christmas Carol

.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas

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

Partridge in a pear tree.

A Partridge in a  Pear Tree.

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me Two Turtle Doves 2 Turtle doves 

and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me Three French hens,

3 French hens

 two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me Four Calling Birds,

Four Calling Birds

 three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me Five Golden Rings.

Five Golden Rings.

 Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me Six Geese a-laying.

Six Geese a-laying.

  Five golden rings. Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Seven Swans a-swimming
,

Seven Swans a-swimming,

six geese a-laying. Five golden rings. Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Eight Maids a-milking
,

Eight Maids a-milking,

 seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying. Five golden rings. Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Nine Ladies Dancing,

Nine Ladies Dancing,

 eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying. Five golden rings. Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the tenth of Christmas, my true love gave to me Ten Lords a-leaping,

 Ten Lords a-leaping

 nine ladies dancing, eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying. Five golden rings. Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

 On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Eleven Pipers Piping
,

Eleven Pipers Piping,

 ten lords a-leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying. Five golden rings. Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Twelve Drummers Drumming
,

Twelve Drummers Drumming,

 eleven pipers piping, ten lords a-leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying. Five golden rings. Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Significance of the Twelve Days of Christmas

The significance of the carol the Twelve Days of Christmas is almost lost.  But it has been traditional to celebrate 12 days for Christmas since medieval times, starting on Christmas Day.  The Yule log dragged in on Christmas Eve was kept alight for 12 days and it was thought bad luck if the log went out in that 12 days.

The only aspect many are likely to understand is that of Twelfth Night which until the 18th century was an important festive occasion for revelry and disguise with masks and costumes.  Role reversal was a popular part of it with men dressing up as women and a Twelfth Night cake would be eaten producing a King and Queen from the persons who found a bean or pea in their portion.  The king and Queen were then waited on by persons superior to them in real life.  It was a lucky servant who found the pea or bean and had the pleasure of being waited on by his master.   Later this evolved into the game we today call charades.   People were given cards with characters on and had to act out the character for the whole of Twelfth Night.

Although originally celebrated as an important religious festival, today many regard the Twelfth Night only as a day to remove all Xmas decorations and throw out the Christmas Tree. 

Religious Significance of the 12 Days of Christmas

The feast of Epiphany begins on Christmas day and ends twelve nights later.  Twelfth Night has long been thought to be the day the Magi of Three Wise Men arrived from the East with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to attend the infant Jesus.

The new and old testaments of the Holy Bible are represented by the 2 turtle doves.  The theological virtues of faith, hope and charity by the 3 French hens and the 4 gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John represented by 4 calling birds. 

The five golden rings represent the Pentateuch which are the first 5 books of the old testament of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

The biblical story of the six days creation are represented by the 6 geese a laying and the seven swans a swimming are the seven sacraments, the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  The 8 beatitudes are represented by the 8 maids a milking and the nine fruits of the holy Spirit are the 9 ladies dancing. 

The most obvious aspect for many will be the ten commandments and the 10 Lords a leaping, with eleven faithful apostles of Jesus Christ as the 11 pipers who pipe out their call to the faithful.  Finally the Apostle's Creed has 12 points of principle which are drummed by the 12 drummers.

Thoughts From Father Peter Bertolero About 12 Days of Christmas Carol

You can read Father Bertolero's PDF research on the 12 days of Xmas by going to his web pages at http://www.fcgcchurch.com/

Father Bertolero wrote to me 'After reading the snopes alleged debunking of the Twelve Days tradition, I decided to do more research on the subject, and those who I either interviewed or resourced provide overwhelming rebuttal to snopes that I am sure pretty well clinches the debate.

It is a rather long piece (40 pages), but it is thorough and irrefutable.

Should you be interested in more information on Christmas traditions, and if there is any chance that Jesus was born on December 25th, for instance (my book argues that there is good evidence that He was), or if the use of Christmas greenery such as holly, and evergreen trees is ok (my book gets its title, Greentree, from the fact that the evergreen tree reoccurs time and again in the Old Testament as a symbol and metaphor for reversal (from a negative state to a positive state) and curse breaking (it is juxtaposed against the symbol and metaphor for cursing and judgment, the thorn, thistle and briar).

Interesting stuff like this, not argued for over the past 50 to 100 years, is in the book. It is very empowering for those families who want to deepen their Advent and Christmas observations, and helps them celebrate the birth of Christ more festively. You can read about the book and copy my article on our web page http://www.fcgcchurch.com/  ... Peter'

How Christmas Carols Began

That forward thinking consort Prince Albert helped to popularise the singing of carols among Victorians.  Carol singing was an old British custom which had roots in the middle ages. It gained momentum when communications improved and reading skills were imparted to the Victorian masses

Initially to earn some small change, food or drink, beggars or wanderers would roam the streets during the yuletide season singing songs.  Minstrels travelled from place to place, from castle to market town to the smallest of hamlets singing carols and entertaining with ballads and other stories.

Waits were watchmen and lamp lighters who walked the streets.  They called out phrases like 'all's well tonight on a clear and frosty night' and waited the night through as men who were also responsible for rousing a town awake at sunrise to phrases such as 'time to rise and shine'. As time passed many people paid these men to call at their house in the morning to wake them with a shout so they would get to their work on time.  These men also watched for trouble and strife such as fire and disturbances.

At Christmas they sang carols on their patrol and the term waits originates from this.  Small groups of waits formed bands and sang carols for villages.  

There is a delightful description of Christmas Carolling by the members of a local church band in Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy.  Read the Book here.

See Topics Below for More Ideas on Christmas Traditions, Customs, and Recipes

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Christmas Crafts

Seasonal Humour

Christmas Traditions

 

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