Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Where'd It Come From?

Have you ever wondered, as you're singing the words to some of our Christmas hymns where they came from? No Christmas song represents the "What on earth does that mean?" better to me than the song "Partridge in a Pear Tree". It seems so non-sensical to me. When I was younger I used to think it meant a very rich man was giving his girlfriend some pretty elaborate gifts in order to win her hand. But last year I looked it up and found some pretty interesting stuff.

One of the thoughts out there is that it is actually a song that was used during 16th century wars as a sort of "secret" way of teaching the basic Christian truths to the children without being found out. The "true love" was representative of God and the "me" was the believing Christian. Some have tried to say that this really wasn't the origin of the song. There is no solid evidence either way, but for the sake of interest I thought I'd put it up because it was so interesting. You decide.

The 12 days of Christmas in not the 12 days before Christmas but actually the 12 days between Christmas and Epiphany (January 6th) which traditionally says is when the Wise Men arrived.

On the 1st Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

The Partridge is Jesus who died on a tree and was the one perfect gift.

On the 2nd Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 2 Turtle Doves

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Two turtle doves represent the Old and New Testament

On the 3rd Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 3 French Hens

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Three French Hens represent the Christian virtues of Faith, Hope & Love

On the 4th Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 4 Calling Birds

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Four Calling Birds represent the four Gospels

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 5 Golden Rings

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Five Golden Rings represent the First Five Books of the Old Testament known as the Pentateuch

On the 6th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me 6 Geese A Laying

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Six Geese represents the Six Days of Creation

On the 7th Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me Seven Swans-a-Swimming

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Seven Swans represent the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
(prophesy, ministry, teaching,exhortation, giving, leading, compassion)

On the 8th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me 8 Maids-a-Milking

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Eight Maids represent the Eight Beatitudes

On the 9th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me 9 Ladies Dancing

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Nine Ladies represent the Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit

On the 10th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me 10 Lords-a-Leaping

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Ten Lords represents the 10 Commandments

On the 11th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me 11 Pipers Piping

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Eleven Pipers is representative of the Eleven Faithful Apostles

On the 12th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me 12 Drummers Drumming

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Twelve Drummers represent the Twelve Points of the Apostle's Creed

So now wasn't that interesting? And even if it is just rumor how it all started, what a cool way to teach your children basics of the Christian Faith.

For more detailed information one of my sources was here.

My pictures are actually tree oranaments which can be purchased here. When my children ever go out on their own and take all their ornaments with them, I always wanted to have a "Partridge in a Pear Tree" themed Christmas tree. So I guess I better go add up how much all that'll cost. Me thinks I better start saving my shekels now.


momrn2 said...

I've always wondered what that song was trying to say. I agree, even if this isn't the true origin of the song... what a great way to tie it into truths of God's Word!

Thanks for sharing this!!! I'm going to begin talking about this with my children!!

Anonymous said...

Very cool and the pictures are pretty.

Carol said...

Very edifying. I'd never heard this before. I do know the 12 days of Christmas are actually Christmas Day through January 6th - Epihany/day of the 3 wise men. But the rest...I'd never heard it before.

Hmmm...maybe it didn't get passed down very well because we can barely remember the words to the song, much less what it's all supposed to mean?

Beautiful ornaments, too!

Anonymous said...

I never knew what the sond meant....how cool is that...thansk for sharing.

Praying for your Prodigal said...

Now that was a post worth reading! THANKS!

And the ornaments are simply beautiful.


Barbie said...

Thanks for sharing this... very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks Susanne :)

gail said...

How interesting; I know when the 12 days of Christmas are but have not heard all the rest! And the ornaments are beautiful.

Beck said...

And you know that we celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas at my house, right? :)
Even if this is an urban legend, it's still a great little story. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I've never heard or seen this. Very very sweet. I like the ornaments too!

Air Force Family said...

I always thought that was just a silly Christmas song. The song is an awesome way of sharing God's truth.
We'll have to start a new tradition and get all the ornaments and celebrate the 12 days. I think this will be great to teach Olyvia and any other children we may have.
A 2nd little Christmas tree would be a good idea and on each day following Christmas, hang an ornament and learn the song as well as the truths that go along with them.
Thank you so much for sharing. Cute ornaments! I checked out the website but they are all in British $. :-( I'm sure I can find them somewhere else. lol

Kelly said...

Love this! Informative and fun! My kids love singing this song, so it will be fun to talk about it with them.

Barbie said...

Susanne, just thought I'd stop back and let you know my ABC Meme is up:) Thanks again for tagging me:)

Cmommy said...

The ornaments are beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what has my mouth hanging open more: the cool story, or the fact that you took the time to to post all of those images and format it just so...


Anonymous said...

ps - I posted my meme tuesday.
Thanks again :)


Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

I have heard this before - i think it is beautiful. I hope it is true - cause it is cool.

Heather Smith said...

That's definitely a great way to look at that song! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I was amazed when I had learned this, too. And you are right, whether it is fictional or true, it is very clever either way!


Air Force Family said...

Susanne - Cominos are ground toasted cumin seeds.

PastorMac's Ann said...

Wonderful! Urban legend or not, it is truly best to focus on Christ.

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Hm. I wonder. I think the explanations are a bit of a stretch, made by someone looking for the parallels. That said--they're biblical, and you're right--a good way to teach concepts in the Bible.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I loved this! Thank you for sharing!

Kate said...

I love it! Love it!

Barb said...

This is fascinating, Susanne. I never in a million years would have thought this was anything more than a fun song.

I'm sharing this with my family, too. They'll be as amazed as I am.

Jenn said...


Jennifer said...

That is so cool. I never heard that before. Thanks.

Melanie said...

I have heard this, but couldn't remember what each meant. Thanks- well written and the ornaments are lovely.

Anonymous said...

I love this-thanks for sharing it...I had heard this a long time ago,but had forgotten what it all stood for.

Susanne,your posts are always so great!

Jen said...

lovely post
Im going to do something similar between Christmas day and January 6th

Wendy WaterBirde said...

Hi Susanne, I had done a post on this recently and Sarah mentioned yours--so glad I came and checked it out, its lovely, and I'm linking to it : )

Christmas Blessings : ) Wendy