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The Meaning Behind the Song The Twelve Days of Christmas

The vast majority of people observed a period of fasting up to and including Christmas Eve during the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day (known as Advent). Following then, ...the festivities started and lasted for 12 days, from December 25 to January 6. Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, and Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, on January 6—which commemorates the coming of the three kings or three wise men (Magi) to see the baby Jesus—were the three main holidays.

There are many variations of the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, that have different meanings and symbolism for different faiths. In an 1842 Scottish version called, The Yule Days, it goes as follows:

The king sent/gave his lady on the thirteenth Yule day
Three stalks o' merry corn,
Three maids a-merry dancing,
Three hinds a-merry hunting,
An Arabian baboon,
Three swans a-merry swimming,
Three ducks a-merry laying,
A bull that was brown,
Three goldspinks,
Three starlings,
A goose that was grey,
Three plovers,
Three partridges,
A pippin go aye;
What learns my carol and carries it away?

In this mini class we focus on the idea that each gift on the list symbolizes a different aspect of the Christian faith. aromaG's Botanica prides itself on being a metaphysical shop that caters to all faiths, including the Christian faith, which many of us grew up with. And while many of us have branched out to embrace many paths and ways of looking at the world, aromaG's mission statement has always been: "To inspire everyone to explore their spirituality in their own way by offering information and products in a nurturing multi-cultural environment."

1. Partridge in a pear tree - symbolizes the birth of Jesus. A mother partridge is the only bird who will die to protect its young.

2. Two Turtle Doves - the old and new testaments. Doves are a symbol of the biblical roadmap available to all.

3. Three French Hens - faith, hope, and love

4. Four Calling Birds - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

5. Five Golden Rings - the first five books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch.

6. Six Geese a Laying - Each egg is a day in creation, a time when the world was “hatched” or formed by God.

7. Seven Swans a Swimming - the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, and compassion. 

8. Eight Maids a Milking - Being a milkmaid was about the worst job one could have in England during this period; this code conveyed that Jesus cared as much about servants as he did those of royal blood. The eight who were blessed included the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.

9. Nine Ladies Dancing - These nine dancers were really the gifts known as the fruit of the Spirit. The fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

10. Ten Lords a Leaping - the ten commandments

11. Eleven Pipers Piping - After Judas betrayed Jesus and then hanged himself, that left eleven disciples to preach the gospel.

12. Twelve Drummers Drumming - The final gift is tied directly to the Catholic Church. The drummers are the 12 points of doctrine in the Apostles’ Creed. “I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day, he rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.”
#chistmas #christmassongs #twelvedaysofchristmas
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As many of you know, I’ve been involved with the Hoodoo Heritage Festival for several years now. You can find the classes I taught over the years here on this page, along with so many wonderful workshops and classes taught by my friends and colleagues of AIRR (Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers.) Classes on the portal are only $25 each – Papa Gee