I’ve always wondered what it would be like to receive these gifts and the mess you’d have to clean up after receiving them, not to mention the cacophony that would fill the rafters.
There’s a lot of speculation as to what this carol means, but one thought is that it was a way for children to remember the tenets of the church.
To me the focus should be on the partridge in the pear tree, since it’s mentioned with each additional gift.
- A Partridge in a Pear Tree – Jesus Christ
- Two Turtle Doves – The Old and New Testaments
- Three French Hens – The three virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity
- Four Calling/Collie Birds – Four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
- Five Golden Rings – First five books of the Old Testament
- Six Geese-a-Laying – Six days of creation before God’s rest on the seventh day
- Seven Swans-a-Swimming – Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
- Eight Maids-a-Milking – Eight Beatitudes
- Nine Ladies Dancing – Nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
- Ten Lords-a-Leaping – Ten Commandments
- Eleven Pipers Piping – Eleven faithful disciples
- Twelve Drummers Drumming -Twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.
Gives the song a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?