Here is something I came across from an old email from my mom....from a Christmas long ago......she loved this song and loved this definition of each of the verses!!!
"There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas??? This week, I found out!
From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. 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 Jesus Christ.
Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testament
Three French hens stood for Faith, Hope and Love
Four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
Five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament
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, Exhorting, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy
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
Ten lords a-leaping were the Ten Commandments
Eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples
Twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostle's Creed."
So, there is your history lesson for today! This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening. Now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol - so pass it on if you wish! The composer is unknown yet it is considered a "Traditional" carol.
Merry Christmas to Everyone!!!