The Twelve Days Of Christmas
From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England suffered persecution and were not permitted to teach or practice their faith. Someone therefore wrote this carol as a secret catechism for young Catholics.
The carol is full of code word which represent a teachings of the faith which the children could remember.
The partridge in a pear tree: Jesus Christ. The foundation of all.
Two turtledoves: The Old and New Testaments.
Three French hens: faith, hope and love.
The four calling birds: the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke &John.
The five golden rings: the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
The six geese a-laying: the six days of creation.
Seven swans a-swimming: the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
The eight maids a-milking: the eight beatitudes.
Nine ladies dancing: the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
The ten lords a-leaping: the Ten Commandments.
The eleven pipers piping: the eleven faithful disciples.
The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.