Monday, December 21, 2009

12 Days of Christmas

I recently ran across an explanation of the symbols used in the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas." I thought it was kind of interesting, so I'm listing it here:

1. Partridge in a pear tree – the partridge was symbol for Christ; others say that the pear tree has long associated with the Greek goddess Athena, the goddess of wisdom, who was said to be a virgin and who represented strength, fairness and mercy.
2. Turtledoves – doves mate for life and have always symbolized love and loyalty.
3. French hens – this trio representing hope, love and charity.
4. Calling birds – each bird stood for one of the four Gospels.
5. Golden rings – prosperity.
6. Geese-a-laying – ancient cultures revered geese as protectors; 6 corresponds to the Bibles' 6 days of creation.
7. Swans-a-swimming – swan were considered the bird of kings and queens.
8. Maids-a-milking – 8 corresponds to the 8beatitudes; also dairy products are related to merriment since before refrigeration, having dairy products was prized treat, often for a party.
9. Ladies dancing – dancing represents fun and celebration in almost every culture.
10. Lords-a-leaping – 10 can refer to the 10 commandments; the lords might represent soldiers leaping into war (against sin? against death?).
11. Pipers piping – on the first Christmas, shepherds reportedly played bagpipes to herald the new arrival .
12. Drummers drumming – the sound of percussionists was associated with protections and safety.

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