Is this true?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by I Am Blessed 24, Dec 19, 2007.

  1. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    (I received this email and was wondering if it was true or not. Can someone enlighten me please?)

    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?

    Today, 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 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.
     
  2. abcgrad94

    abcgrad94
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    It might be true. My kids have (or had) a children's book about this song and it says the same thing you posted.
     
  3. Doubting Thomas

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    Yeah, I read something similar a few years ago.
     
  4. PamelaK

    PamelaK
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  5. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    According to wikipedia, it isn't true, Sue. I know Wikipedia can and does get it wrong sometime but I find the carol to be odd subject matter for a specifically Catholic teaching method; I would have thought the alleged allegories would have been common to all Christian denominations. I certainly never heard about that theory when I was being raised Catholic (including going to Catholic public school).Also, it's not quite correct that Catholics were unable to practise their religion from 1558 to 1829: Catholics were increasingly persecuted in England and Wales after the excommunication of Elizabeth I in 1570, with Catholicism being associated with treason; events like the Spanish Armada of 1588 and the Guy Fawkes-Robert Catesby Gunpowder Plot of 1605 didn't help matters. The position was relaxed but formalised in 1678 with the passing of the Test Act, which barred Catholics (and non-conformists such as Baptists) from public office eg: standing for Parliament, but permitted them to practise their religion. The position for non-conformists was slightly loosened after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 but they didn't gain full emancipation until 1828; a year later that was extended to Catholics (and in 1858 to Jews) and, since then, religion has been no bar to holding public office in the UK. (Catholic Emancipation in 1829 is not to be confused with the re-establishment of the Catholic Episcopate in England in 1850, since when it has often depracatingly been referred to as 'The Italian Mission' by some of my fellow-Anglicans.)
     
    #5 Matt Black, Dec 19, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2007
  6. Debby in Philly

    Debby in Philly
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    Thanks for this - I found it quite interesting and helpful.
     
  7. Eliyahu

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    During this period, God blessed Britain and made Great Britain. England was a tiny country compared to Spain, and Spain dominated by Catholics was almost 10 times as big as Enlgand before 1588, but the Invincible Fleet was defeated by England with the assistance of the Act of God
     
    #7 Eliyahu, Dec 19, 2007
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2007
  8. Doubting Thomas

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    Good points, Matt. Thanks for the info.
     
  9. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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