Thursday, January 6, 2011


Today is the day that many Christians celebrate the feast of Epiphany. In our household, we really don't do much except update the creche by bringing the wise men into the scene. (It's pretty crowded by this point, so the shepherds, cows and sheep are booted out.)

For us, Epiphany is on January 6th, 12 days after Christmas Eve - hence the "twelve days of Christmas" from the song. It was also known as Twelfth Night, and for many is the signal to take down all their Christmas decorations. 

According to World of Christmas,
The religious significance of the twelve days of Christmas lies in the story of the Three Wise Men who arrived from the East with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to attend the infant Jesus. It is said that it took them twelve days to reach Him.
That site also lists the supposed religious significance of the symbols from the song, but has debunked that. Kinda sad about that, because I like symbolism. So, to keep me happy, here is what another site says:
1 True Love refers to God
2 Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch," which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese a-laying refers to the six days of creation
7 Swans a-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the sacraments
8 Maids a-milking refers to the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords a-leaping refers to the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming refers to the points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed
Wait, what? What about the partridge and the pear tree?  Wikipedia says the partridge represents Jesus. What the Lord is doing in a pear tree is just one of those matters of faith, I guess.

1 comment:

  1. If Christ is the partridge (flesh we eat) then the pear tree would be the wooden cross upon which he was executed.


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