The original twelve day’s of Christmas was written to convey the Christian message, it is a very interesting carol and originated as a Hebrew hymn, which begins, “In those twelve days …” The hymn was originally arranged as a dialogue between cantor and choir. Each of the verses was repeated in a similar way to those of a nursery rhyme, “This is the house that Jack built.” In the Middle Ages, the song was rewritten in Latin with Christian images.
A partridge in a pear tree – said to symbolise Jesus Christ.
Two turtle doves – the Old and the New Testaments.
Three French hens – the Christian virtues of faith, hope and charity.
Four colly birds – the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Five gold rings – the first five books of the Old Testament.
Six geese a laying – the six days of creation.
Seven swans a-swimming – the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Eight maids a-milking – the eight Beatitudes.
Nine ladies dancing – the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Ten lords a-leaping – the Ten Commandments.
Eleven pipers piping – the eleven faithful disciples.
Twelve drummers drumming – the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.