I grew up celebrating it, even though I didn’t even know that’s what it was called. When I was a little girl growing up in Argentina, the best day about Christmas was actually January 6, when the Wise Men or Magi would come and leave a present on my polished clean and carefully laid out shoes, by my bedroom door. How many times did I imagine hearing their camels (not reindeer) making noises outside the house!
There’s symbolism in every single one of the presents in the song, even if some people think they are a bit odd and not related to Christmas.
Advent is a season of preparation, of joy and hope for the coming of the baby that will be the Redeemer of the world. Epiphany happens 12 days after the birth of the Savior. If you start counting on December 25th, then the evening of January 5th is the 12th night and January 6th is the 12th day of Christmas.
In most countries around the world where they still celebrate the old traditions, that’s when the Wise Men came to deliver presents to the newborn baby. And people believed there were three Wise Men just because He was given three presents. In South America and Spain, it’s called Dia de los Reyes Magos (Day of the Kings).
The song was created to teach young children about the tenets of the Catholic church. And these are the meanings:
2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch.”
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed
One more thing, I just came across the group Straight no Chaser, and fell in love with them. So check out their YouTube version of the Twelve Days of Christmas. It’s hilarious.
To check ideas for gifting go here, here and here.
Sources: here, here and here.
And may you all have a Merry Christmas.