On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me…

Have you ever tallied up just how much stuff you’d have after 12 days of receiving gifts from your true love, if the gift giving matched exactly that famed carol?

Let’s run it down quickly:

  • 12 partridges in pear trees
  • 22 turtle doves
  • 30 French hens
  • 36 calling birds
  • 40 golden rings
  • 42 geese a-laying
  • 42 swans a-swimming
  • 40 maids a-milking
  • 36 ladies dancing
  • 30 lords a-leaping
  • 22 pipers piping
  • 12 drummers drumming

The grand total is 364 gifts, 140 of which are people. (Heh, and you thought Christmas materialism was a recent thing…)

It’s difficult to believe ((Okay, I don’t really consider Catholic.org a reliable source, and this comes off as very revisionist; an unbiased history of the song would be great if you have one to share.)) that the partridge in a pear tree is supposed to represent Jesus Christ when there are fully twelve of them given in the song, whereas Jesus was sacrificed once for all time. (However, that site does claim it to be a Catholic catechismal thing, so I suppose it could be tied into the supposed repeated sacrifices of Christ made anytime a priest blesses the elements of the Mass.)

At this point, I’m a little wearied of the song anyway, and have appreciated the radio station at work mixing things up a bit with variations such as “The Eight Polish Foods of Christmas”; and if that isn’t up your alley, try out The 12 Days of Theology.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

3 thoughts on “On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me…”

  1. I never did tally it up, but interestingly enough, I did know that the partridge was meant to represent Jesus.

    If I remember correctly, the song goes back to the Reformation/Puritan era when Protestants were being persecuted. So they came up with a song that contained hidden messages…

    Partridge in a pear tree=Jesus head of the Church
    Two turtle doves=Two Covenants/Promises
    Three French hens=Faith, Hope, and Love.
    Four calling birds=The four Gospels
    Five golden rings=can’t remember
    Six geese a laying=can’t remember
    ” ”
    ” ”
    ” ”
    Ten Lords a leaping=the ten kings in Revelation
    ” ”
    ” ”

    I’ll have to look it up again.

  2. Hehe, and that’s exactly why I don’t think the song originally meant anything like that; both Protestants & Catholics both claim it to have been written by persecuted members of their own affiliations.

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