30 December 2009

On the sixth day...

On the sixth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

Carols.org.uk explains the religious significance of the twelve gifts given over the Christmas period: a catechesis for children, which I note the excellent blog godzdogz have invited readers to work out. I'm afraid I'm rather lazy and simply googled it - thus eliminating myself from the contest. Anyway, the answers, according to carols.org are:

1 True Love refers to God
2 Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming refers to the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed


  1. The numbers link up nicely but it is difficult to see any connection between the things enumerated and the subjects they are said to signify. For instance: might not the twelve drummers equally apply to apostles, tribes of Israel and so forth? Also it is strange that the Pentateuch gets mentioned but the Corporal works of mercy don't!

  2. Patricius, I agree. Perhaps it's origin was as a teaching aid, but the message changed over the years. I wonder what a modern take on the most important aspects of our faith would be - maybe we could start a newer version for the 21st century Christian.



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