The Twelve Days of Christmas
by: Opal Crace, Cheyenne Crowe and Hunter Wood
While the 12 Days of Christmas is a festive Christmas song that many people know, it holds a greater meaning than just that. From 1558 to 1829, Catholics used this song to practice their faith in secrecy. They were prohibited by law to practice their faith in public or private; therefore, they had to find other ways to practice.
The song was created in England so that young Catholics could learn the tenets of their faith, as you will learn later on. This song served as a memory aid, which was very important to have because if one were to be caught with anything written down about the Catholic faith, you could be severely punished or killed.
The "true love" mentioned in the song refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person.
Partridge in a pear tree = Jesus Christ
2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed
... for a grand total of... 391 presents.
To apply this in the classroom you could have the kids add all of these up or you can take it a step further and have them research to find the prices of each present and add the correct quantity accordingly. You can also find the arithmetic sum in order to find out how many gifts your true love gave to you.