On December 26, happy First Day of Christmas, everyone. Get yourself a great glass of wine, and let’s celebrate the history of why the 12 days of Christmas exist.
I don’t consider myself a Catholic anymore, although I was raised as one. As I hear about different cultures in the US now all celebrating Christmas, because their children’s peers do and their kids want gifts, too, the culture of Christmas is changing to Santa Clause Day. Still, the original history is important to know. I, for instance, won’t light candles for eight days, without knowing why I would light each one. Now would I bow to the East as a culture, and not know why. Nor, would I meditate without knowing why I’m doing it and what it’s spiritual relevance is. So, I thought I’d share this part of the Catholic culture, since it is part of my history, and now part of so many other people of different faiths, too.
From the Catholic News Agency site:
The song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is an English Christmas carol. From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of the Church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember. To fit the number scheme, when you reach number 9, representing the Fruits of the Holy Ghost, the originator combined 6 to make 3, taking the 6 fruits that were similar: the fruit in each parenthesis is the [fruit] that was not named separately. There are actually Twelve Fruits of the Holy Ghost.
The “True Love” one hears in the song is not a smitten boy or girlfriend but Jesus Christ, because truly Love was born on Christmas Day. The partridge in the pear tree also represents Him because that bird is willing to sacrifice its life if necessary to protect its young by feigning injury to draw away predators.