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A Puzzle for the Twelve Days of Christmas

Saturday, December 26, 2009
The Twelve Days of Christmas is a well loved English Christmas carol which enumerates a series of increasingly grandiose gifts given on each of the twelve days of Christmas. The twelve days in the song are the twelve days from the day after Christmas, the feast day of St Stephen Protomartyr, to the Feast of the Epiphany. Over the twelve days the "true love" gives seventy-eight strange gifts. A popular, if often debated, theory is that the carol was used as a "catechism song" to help young Catholics learn their faith, at a time when practising Catholicism was illegal in England. The twelve gifts are said to represent essential Christian realities. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to identify the meanings behind the gifts. Leave your answers as a comment and no Googling! We will know!

1 partridge in a pear tree

2 Turtle Doves

3 French Hens

4 Calling Birds

5 Golden Rings

6 Geese A-laying

7 Swans A-swimming

8 Maids A-milking

9 Ladies Dancing

10 Lords A-leaping

11 Pipers Piping

12 Drummers Drumming

Mark Davoren


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