The Twelve Days of Christmas is really not the Twelve days before Christmas. It is the Twelve days after Christmas. Christmas is an important time for Christians and the Twelve Days of Christmas really is all about our Faith in Jesus Christ. Beginning December 25 and lasting until January 6, when the church celebrates the revelation of Christ as the light of the world.
From 1558 until 1829 people in England were not allowed to practice their faith without the risk of persecution. During this Era someone wrote 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' The Twelve Days of Christmas was kind of a secret catechism that could be sung in public without risk of persecution.
The song has two levels of interpretation: “the surface meaning and a hidden meaning only known to members of the church.”Each carol has a code word for a religious reality.
On the First Day of Christmas the Partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ.
On the Second Day of Christmas Two Turtledoves stand for the Old and New Testaments in the Holy Bible.
On the Third Day of Christmas the Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love (I Corinthians 13:13)
On the Fourth Day of Christmas the Four Calling Birds are the four Gospels. (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)
On the Fifth Day of Christmas the Gold Rings recall the torah (law) which are the first five books of the Old Testament. (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy)
On the Sixth Day of Christmas the Geese a- laying stands for the Six days of Creation. (Genesis 1:1-31)
On the Seventh Day of Christmas the Seven Swans a Swimming represents the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit. (Romans 12:6-8; I Corinthians 12:1-11, 12:27)
On the Eighth Day of Christmas the Eight Maids a- milking are the Eight Beatitudes. (Matthew 5:3-10)
On the Ninth Day of Christmas the Nine Ladies Dancing are the Nine Fruits of the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-23)
On the Tenth Day of Christmas the Ten Lords a- leaping are the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 20:1-17)
On the Eleventh Day of Christmas the Eleven Pipers Piping stands for the eleven faithful disciples.
On the Twelfth Day of Christmas the Drummers Drumming symbolizes the 12 tribes of Israel (Genesis 49:1-28)
Next time you hear this song on the radio, or at a secular function you can just smile :)