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The True Meaning of The Song The 12 Days of Christmas

Updated on August 19, 2013

This is one Christmas carol that has had me confused on why it is a Christmas carol, what do all these things of the 12 days of Christmas have to do with Christmas? Are they Christmas gifts? Here is what this song is really all about.

Between l558 and l829, Catholics in England were not allowed to practice their faith. So someone during that time wrote this carol as a Christmas song for Catholic children. This song has two meanings.The one in the song and it also has a hidden meaning has well, only known to members of that church. Each part of this carol has a word for a catholic religious truth which all the members of the church could remember and was not told to anyone else.

The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ, He is in a tree to show Him above all others. Two turtle doves were the books of the Old and New Testaments in the bible. Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love. The four calling birds were the four gospels from the bible, Matthew, Mark,Luke, and John.

The five golden rings recalled the first five books of the Old Testament. The six geese a laying stood for the six days it took God to create. the world. Seven swans a swimming are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership ,and Mercy.

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The eight maids a milking are the eight beatitudes of Jesus. Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit. Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control.
The ten lords a leaping are the ten commandments giving to us by God.. Eleven pipers piping are for the eleven faithful disciples. Twelve drummers drumming are the twelve important points of the Apostles' Creed.

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Now I know how this  song The 12 Days of Christmas became a Christmas Carol, and now every time I hear it, it will have a whole different meaning for me now that I know the true meaning of the 12 days of Christmas!

 

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    • lcg4jc profile image

      lcg4jc 6 years ago

      WOW, what a beautiful and inspiring hub. I also used to think what does this mean and why only twelve days? But it all makes sense when you know the hidden meaning of the days and purpose. I am truly blessed you have written on this carol. I too will be able to hear the song and delight in the knowledge of what its hidden message. Ooooh I am soooo excited. Thank you again and again. I love learning things like this!!!! Blessings to you

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 6 years ago from Sweden

      Great and informative hub! It is something special with Christmas carols, the songs creates a special feeling and it is a great tradition! And it must be even better knowing the background!

    • carrie450 profile image

      carrie450 6 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

      I love how you tell the history of the carol's Tom. I'll hear them differently now. Thanks for the great hub.

    • kashmir56 profile image
      Author

      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you lcg4jc for your very nice comments, glad you enjoyed it!

    • kashmir56 profile image
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      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      thougtforce thank you so much for stopping by an to for your nice comments!

    • kashmir56 profile image
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      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      carrie thanks so much for your nice comments and for stopping by again!

    • kashmir56 profile image
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      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      lcg4jc it is so awesome that we can learn new things from each others hubs!

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      tinamarie9884 6 years ago

      This is a wonderful hub.

    • twentyfive profile image

      twentyfive 6 years ago

      Wow, I learned a lot here. Those are so meaningful and I gotta share this :) Thanks!

    • kashmir56 profile image
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      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you tinamarie, it's so nice to hear from you again! Thanks for your nice comment!

    • kashmir56 profile image
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      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you twentyfive for your wonderful comments! It is always nice when you read another followers hub and learn something new, i do enjoy those hubs the most!

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 6 years ago from Canada

      kashmir, this is great! I didn't know about this history ... now this song has new significance for me ... wonderful! Great hub and take care. By the way, I love the Johnny Cash video you put in. How neat and a little sad to see him on his own show. Miss him! Take care!

    • kashmir56 profile image
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      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks prairieprincess glad you enjoyed my hub!Glad you liked the Johnny Cash video he was very young there in that video. You take care to!

    • acaetnna profile image

      acaetnna 6 years ago from Guildford

      I so enjoyed this informative hub and also loved the video. Thank you.

    • Tom Cornett profile image

      Tom Cornett 6 years ago from Ohio

      Great hub! I learned something today...thank you. :)

    • kashmir56 profile image
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      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you to acaetnna for dropping by and to for your nice comments! Glad you enjoyed this hub and video!

    • kashmir56 profile image
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      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks Tom glad you liked it, i always enjoy someones hub more when i have learned something new!

    • xixi12 profile image

      xixi12 6 years ago from Everywhere but here. In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved. You can never be truly free till you have the discipline to manage it.

      Wow! i never thought to research this, but thanks for making the efforts. Now i know. Thanks for sharing

    • kashmir56 profile image
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      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you xixi12 glad you enjoy it.Now you not only know the real meaning of this song but what those people had to go through just to practice their faith.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Kashmir56,

      I loved this hub. It taught me something I never knew. Thanks for such interesting info about the meaning of this song. Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas!

    • kashmir56 profile image
      Author

      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi toknowinfo thank you for stopping by and for your nice comments. It is always nice when we read someone's hubs and learn something we did not know, i enjoy those hubs the most! Thanks for your Christmas wishes!!!

    • Moon Willow Lake profile image

      Moon Willow Lake 6 years ago

      I am not religious, but when I was young, I was taught the Catholic faith. This was never taught and I never knew what the meaning behind this song was. Thanks for all the info!

    • tonymead60 profile image

      Tony Mead 5 years ago from Yorkshire

      Hi Kash

      I never knew any of that, I always just thought it was some Victorian excess. Just shows never take things at face value, there can be so much more hidden away.

      It sort of reminds me of the 50's song the deck of cards, when a soldier is pulled up for having cards in church, until he explains their meanings i.e the ace representing the one God etc.

      Tony

    • kashmir56 profile image
      Author

      Thomas Silvia 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Tony nice to see you, Yes i to just thought it was one of those weird Christmas songs till i found the real meaning of the song and wrote this hub . I think you shoukd write a hub about that 50's song the deck of cards,I've never heard that before and think it would make a interesting hub . Thanks so much for stopping by and to for your nice comments .

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear kashmir56,

      I am so glad to find this evergreen hub. I had just 'heard' about the symbolism a few days ago when I was out for lunch. This explains a favorite Christmas Carol so beautifully that I intend to bookmark.

      Hearing Johnny et al singing was the icing on the cake!

      Voted UP & Useful & Awesome & Beautiful and Interesting!

      Merry Christmas and be well, Maria

    • kashmir56 profile image
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      Thomas Silvia 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi marcoujor nice to see you,glad to hear you enjoyed reading this hub and the video to.Thanks so much for stopping by and to for your nice comments. Thanks also for your vote up and all the other votes has well .

      Hope you have a awesome Christmas my friend !

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      WOW..this is really inspiring.. I never knew that the 12days has a meaning. thanks for sharing.

    • tonymead60 profile image

      Tony Mead 4 years ago from Yorkshire

      Hi Kashmir,

      I've put a link from my 'Deck Of Cards' hub to here. Please do the same, it has to be good to share.

      Take care, have a good weekend.

      Tony

    • kashmir56 profile image
      Author

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi M. so nice to see you,so glad to hear you found this hub inspiring and found the true meaning of the song. Thanks so much for stopping by and to for your nice comments !

    • kashmir56 profile image
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      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Tony nice to see you, glad we got our hubs linked up,it will help both of us ! Thanks so much for stopping by and to for your nice comments !

      Take care my friend !

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 4 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Thank you for sharing this beautiful, knowledgeable hub on the twelve days of Christmas, and the meanings behind the lyrics. God Bless You my precious friend.

    • kashmir56 profile image
      Author

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi my friend Stars nice to see you,so glad to hear you have enjoyed the true meaning of this song. Thanks so much for stopping by and to for your nice comments ! GBY !

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 4 years ago from Central United States of America

      My goodness! This was news to me and I thank you for putting this informative explanation here. I shall never wonder about it's meaning now...I always thought it was just a fun kid's song. Wow, what a difference!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      What a wonderful lesson to learn.

      Thank you so much for this beautiful and interesting festive gem.

      I vote across/up and share all around.

      Have a wonderful day.

      Eddy.

    • kashmir56 profile image
      Author

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi frogyfish nice to see you, yes i was so surprised to when i found out the true mining of this song . Glad you enjoyed reading this ! Thanks so much for stopping by and to for your nice comments !

    • kashmir56 profile image
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      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Eiddwen nice to see you my friend, so nice to hear you found this information beautiful and interesting ! Thanks so much for your vote across/up and share all around ! Also thanks for stopping by and to for your nice comments !

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 4 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      You live and learn. Thanks I did not know any of that either

    • kashmir56 profile image
      Author

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi ethel my friend nice to see you, glad you found out the true meaning of the great Christmas song The Twelve Days Of Christmas . Thanks so much for stopping by and to for your nice comments !

    • crazybeanrider profile image

      Boo McCourt 4 years ago from Washington MI

      I found this hub very interesting. It seems to make so much sense when you explain the true meaning of the song. I love learning something new, and I did from your insightful hub.

    • kashmir56 profile image
      Author

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi crazybeanrider nice to see you. nice to hear you found this information on this Christmas song very interesting. I am just like you to i love to learn something new when reading a hub and i enjoy those hubs the most ! Thanks so much for stopping by and to for your nice comments !

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      So interesting Tom! I didn't know that!

    • kashmir56 profile image
      Author

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Audrey nice to see you, glad you found it interesting. When i did the research on this song i thought the information i found would make a interesting hub, and i to didn't even know about this code within this song before my research. Thanks so much for stopping by and to for your nice comments !

    • Jennifer Stone profile image

      Jennifer Stone 4 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      This was really interesting, and I didn't know any of it before... Thank you! It's made me want to look a bit deeper into it because the Irish side of my family are all catholic, so it's like a history lesson that feels kinda relevant! Thanks again, voting up and all sorts, all the best, Jen

    • kashmir56 profile image
      Author

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Jennifer nice to see you, nice to hear you found this information interesting and found out the real meaning of this song. Thanks so much for your voting up and all sorts ! Also thanks for stopping by and to for your nice comments !

    • Snurre profile image

      Snurre 4 years ago

      I love this Christmas carol, but I was unaware of its true meaning. Thanks for writing this Hub, Tom!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      This is a favourite of mine. I never knew it had a hidden meaning and I enjoyed reading about it.

      Voted up, interesting and shared.

    • kashmir56 profile image
      Author

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Snurre nice to see you, Glad you found out the true meaning of this classic Christmas song. And hope you enjoyed reading this hub. Thanks so much for stopping by and to for your nice comments !

    • kashmir56 profile image
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      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi phoenix2327 nice to see you, glad to hear this Christmas song is a favorite of your's and glad you have found out the true meaning of this song. Thanks so much for your voted up, interesting and shared ! Also thanks for stopping by and to for your nice comments !

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 4 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Great hub. Great write-up on the Twelve Days of Christmas. I've alway loved this song.

    • kashmir56 profile image
      Author

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi KoffeeKlatch Gals nice to see you, so glad you enjoyed this information about this Christmas song, and now have found out the true meaning of the song. Thanks so much for stopping by and to for your nice comments !

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      Sending this one around--it needs to be seen right about now!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Is this ever interesting. I've never questioned this Christmas song but have wondered about it. Thanks so much for writing this. I'll be sharing and voting up and more.

    • LauraD093 profile image

      Laura Tykarski 4 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      thanks for a really informative hub I really enjoyed finally having this question answered I always wondered what the days stood for as well.

    • kashmir56 profile image
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      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Audrey nice to see you, thanks for sending this one around, glad you enjoyed it ! Thanks so much for stopping by and to for your nice comments !

    • kashmir56 profile image
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      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Just Ask Susan nice to see you, glad to hear you found this information interesting. Thanks so much for your vote up and more and share ! Also thanks for stopping by and to for your nice comments !

    • kashmir56 profile image
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      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi LauraD093 nice to see you, glad you found this information useful and enjoyed reading it. Thanks so much for stopping by and to for your nice comments !

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      After hearing this carol all my life, I had no idea about the true meaning. I am so glad you wrote this awesome hub. Very interesting. Voted up and shared. Have a wonderful Christmas!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Have a lovely Christmas.

    • kashmir56 profile image
      Author

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Pamela nice to see you, so nice to hear you enjoyed reading this hub and found this information interesting. Thanks so much for your vote up and share ! Also thanks for stopping by and to for your nice comments !

      Wishing you a very Merry Christmas !

    • kashmir56 profile image
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      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi phoenix nice to see you, Wishing you a very Merry Christmas ! Thanks so much for stopping by and to for your nice comments !

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 4 years ago

      Merry Christmas, Tom, to your family and you!

      (:----------Wide Smile----------:)

    • kashmir56 profile image
      Author

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi my friend thank you so much !!!

      Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a awesome New Year !

      Thanks so much for stopping by and to for your Christmas wishes !

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Tom,

      I had heard this a long time ago but enjoyed the reminder of the meaning of the song...The 12 Days of Christmas...once again. Hope that you had a very Merry Christmas and that your new year to come will be filled with many blessings.

    • graveyard-rose profile image

      Heather Marie 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      It really gives it a new meaning other than, " Just another Christmas song." Wonderful hub. Plus, I love the addition of Johnny Cash's video. RIP Johnny!

    • Maralexa profile image

      Marilyn Alexander 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

      Have a great new year, kashmir56! Thanks for the reminder. This is a fun song and you have reminded me of its deeper meaning.

    • kashmir56 profile image
      Author

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Peggy glad my hub has reminded you of the true meaning of this Christmas song . My Christmas was a very merry one and hope to your Christmas was too. Hope that this New Year will bring great blessings to many in need . Thanks for stopping by and to for your nice comments .

    • kashmir56 profile image
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      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi graveyard-rose nice to see you, Nice to hear you enjoyed reading this hub and enjoyed the video has well. Thanks so much for stopping by and to for your nice comments !

    • kashmir56 profile image
      Author

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Maralexa nice to see you, it good to hear that it is a reminder to you about the real meaning of this song. I agree with you it is a fun song. Wishing you a great New Year as well ! Thanks so much for stopping by and to for your nice comments !

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 4 years ago from USA

      Absolutely beautiful Tom

      I remember hearing this before VAGUELY

      It's so awesome and inspiring

    • kashmir56 profile image
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      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Rose nice to see you, glad you enjoyed this hub and rediscovered the true meaning of the great Christmas song . Thanks so much for stopping by and to for your nice comments !

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 4 years ago from US

      Sorry I missed this, so very interesting! Up and sharing even if it is past time. lol

    • kashmir56 profile image
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      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Pollyannalana nice to see you, glad you found it now and found it interesting. Thanks so much for your vote up and share ! Also thanks for stopping by and to for your nice comments !

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 4 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hello Tom. I hope this new year finds you well and eager to write. I'm so glad to have discovered this explantion of the 12 days. It will give me a fresh perspective when I listen NEXT Christmas. Thanks for sharing! I will pass it on.

      All of the best to you,

      Cat:)

    • kashmir56 profile image
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      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi cat nice to see you, glad you liked the explanation of the 12 days and why they did that had to sing it that way. I am doing well and better after this cold spell we are having passes, thanks for asking. Hope to you are doing well this new year and throughout as well.

      Thanks so much for passing this on ! Also thanks for stopping by and to for your nice comments !

      Wishing you the best this new year !

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