The secret behind 12 Days of Christmas poem

The twelve days of Christmas mentions those twelve days that lie between December 25, that is Christmas Day or the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, and January 6th also known as the Epiphany. This is the day when Christians celebrate the coming of the Magi, or the Wise Men as they are popularly known, and the discovery of Christ as a beam of bright light in the world of darkness.

This Twelve Days of Christmas poem may sound childish and artificial to many of us. But strangely it laid its foundations in religious representation and that too with a solemn principle. This poem was coined as a kind of surreptitious catechism that could sing in public with no trepidation of capture. Thus it served as a learning or memory aid to the followers of Christ and has been since. The song has perhaps two levels of understanding; one, the outer meaning, or the veiled sense.

The poem in a broad outlook is poetry set to music but it is not just that. It includes verses that reflect a special motive which lies hidden inside its expressions. Roman Catholics in the United Kingdom were forbidden to practice their belief by law in clandestine or in public since the mid sixteenth century to as late as the late nineteenth century. It was an offense to be a Roman Catholic. This “twelve days of Christmas” poem was composed in England so as to let the secret supporters of Roman Catholicism gain knowledge on the precepts of their religion. The law was callous for those people who showed any kind of devotion to the creed. If any of the denizens were found creating something related to Roman Catholicism, then they were extradited from their country or put in prison.

The gifts that are written in the song are concealed meanings of the philosophy behind the Roman Catholic conviction. “True Love” in the rhyme stands for the almighty God. “Me” refers to each and every baptized self on earth and the “partridge on the pear tree” is Jesus Christ. The “two turtledoves” are looked upon as the Old and New Testaments. The various other gifts that are mentioned are also a classic sign of other tenets of the Catholic faith. One may stress his mind on the true standing of these illusive items.

So this ridiculous poem we sing during the Christmas season has much more meaning than we contemplate. Next time you sing it, you shall certainly show more respect for the religion and its creators!