Friday, December 19, 2008

Always Fun To Know Stuff
But most of you already know this!

During the English Martyrdom, Catholics in England were not permitted to practice The Faith openly. The punishment for being a priest was death. The punishment for having Mass said in your home was that the entire household (including children) were put to death.

Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember. -The Partridge in a Pear Tree was The Blessed Virgin Mary and The Christ Child.

-Two Turtle Doves were the Old and New Testaments.

-Three French Hens stood for faith, hope and love.

-The Four Calling Birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

-The Five Golden Rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

-The Six Geese A-Laying stood for the six days of creation.

-Seven Swans A-Swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

-The Eight Maids A-Milking were the eight beatitudes.

-Nine Ladies Dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

-The Ten Lords A-Leaping were the Ten Commandments.

-The Eleven Pipers Piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

-The Twelve Drummers Drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.
Maybe pass this onto your kids. And then remind them that the Latin Mass they just attended use to bring the death penalty.

Saints Oliver Plunkett, Edmund Campion, and Thomas More, Ora Pro Nobis.


Blogger Joe of St. Thérèse said...

That I didn't know...I'll be sure to share that with the students.

1:35 AM  
Blogger Joe of St. Thérèse said...

And the 12 days of Christmas are from Christmas to the Epiphany

1:35 AM  
Blogger Athanasius contra mundum said...

Even in early America Catholics were persecuted. Only Maryland, which was set up for Catholics, had Masses openly.

3:21 AM  
Blogger Theophilus said...

We Catholics always loved numbers, didn't we.
Not surprisingly the music of the period when the Church reached its biggest splendor (the Middle Ages) was extremely rational and mathematic.

5:06 AM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Orthodoxae said...

I didn't know that until a few weeks ago!

2:58 PM  
Blogger HI5PiusXII said...

I agree with Theophilus...extremely rational & mathematical go hand in hand when thinking properly of musical matters. I humbly take a stab at the organ on occasions.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Um...hate to rain on the parade but what are the distinctly Catholic points in this song and how do they differ from the Protestants? Any mention of Rome, the Pope, Baptism, the Sacrements, the Eucharist? Nope. The "code" could be for any Christian denomination.

Sadly, the fact is that it's simply a very old English 'Round and relatively meaningless. The first seven gifts are birds (Golden Rings are pheasants) and the remaining five are simply people. Sorry, there's no deeper meaning.


10:26 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

Hate to rain on your parade, but did you notice what also wasn't there? None of the heretical Protestant clap-trap that was mandatory during that age.

As far as the "12 Days of Christmas" is concerned, there was no need for mentioning Rome, the Sacraments, etc. Pure Christian Teaching sufficed very well.

As far as Snopes is concerned, they do a credible job of debunking e-myths such as Barack Obama is Elvis' love-child. And Snopes should stick with what they know best.

If you choose to believe that this song is nothing more than an English Round, that most certainly is your call. But thanks for posting, Bill.

6:14 AM  

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