Lords a leaping, ladies dancing, pipers piping, French hens and partridges in a pear tree.  What does that all have to do with Christmas?  Nobody really seems to know the exact origin of the story but there's some evidence it extends back to 1625 and a story called "In Those 12 Days".  It was back in the days when Catholics couldn't openly practice their faith.  So the story has a double meaning.

  • The partridge in a pear tree represents Jesus Christ.
  • The two turtle doves are the old and new testament.
  • Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love.
  • The four calling birds are the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
  • The five golden rings recall the five books of the old testament.
  • The six geese a-laying stand for the six days of creation.
  • Seven swans a-swimming represent the seven gifts of the holy spirit - prophesy, serving, teaching, exhortation, contribution, leadership and mercy.
  • The eight maids a-milking are the eight beatitudes. 
  • Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the holy spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
  • The ten lords a-leaping represent the ten commandments.
  • The eleven pipers piping are the eleven faithful apostles. 
  • The twelve drummers drumming symbolizes the twelve points of the belief in the  apostles creed.

And you thought it was just an expensive Christmas list.