The Twelve Days of Christmas

Adam Howard CBN Europe | Content and Marketing Assistant
by Adam Howard

Content Coordinator, CBN Europe

Featured Articles


Email me exciting news, updates and promotions.

By submitting this form you agree to the CBN Europe privacy policy.

I love watching QI on the BBC. It’s full of quirky facts and interesting trivia. So, with Christmas around the corner, and in the spirit of QI, I thought I’d share some ‘quite interesting’ trivia. 

The Origins of the 12 Days of Christmas 

During the historical persecution of the Catholic church in England, practicing believers were forbidden from openly engaging in their religion. In order to maintain beliefs and reinforce Catholic teachings to their children, this song, The 12 Days of Christmas, was written. When you dig deeper into the meanings behind each of the lines, it gives a pretty good outline to the faith. Plus, it could be publicly sung leaving the Protestant oppressor at the time, none the wiser. 

“Five gold rings…and a partridge in a pear tree”

What Does it Actually Mean?

My True Love and the Partridge in a Pear Tree – these both are representations of Jesus. The partridge perhaps most significantly, because it’s a bird that will sacrifice its life to save its children.

Two Turtle Doves – these represent the Old and New Testaments.

Three French Hens – represent faith, hope and love.

Four Calling Birds – the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Five Gold Rings – the Pentateuch; the first five books of the Old Testament.

Six Geese a-Laying – the six days of creation.

Seven Swans a-Swimming – the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Eight Maids a-Milking – the eight Beatitudes.

Nine Ladies Dancing – the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Ten Lords a-Leaping – the Ten Commandments.

Eleven Pipers Piping – the eleven faithful Apostles.

Twelve Drummers Drumming – represent the twelve points of belief in the Apostle’s Creed.


I hope this has cast a new light over this traditional tune. So, as you gather next time around the fire to sing this song, you’ll have a new appreciation for the lyrics and, of course, some great trivia to wow your guests with. 

Have a great Christmas. 

ICYMI: Check out our latest Reach Magazine for more news and articles from us at CBN Europe.

Happy Christmas from all of us at CBN Europe
Happy Christmas from all of us at CBN Europe
Christmas Outreach Pack | Exclusive 2019 Offer

Related Articles

Never Silent

Vision Leaks

Sorry, Busy

Faith and the Miraculous




Fresh Start


Be Still




Hope In Action


Warning Lights


Made To Worship


The 18-Inch Gap

The Road

The Exchange

Digging Deep

Me, Myself and I

My Jesus Story

Songs That Speak

Heavenly Hiraeth

The God Who Sees

Doers of His Word

Love in the Community

Warrior, Not Worrier

Hope in the Grieving

Faith in the Darkness

Finding Your Why

The Stretch

New Beginnings

Emmanuel: God With Us

Childlike Excitement

The Heart of Christmas

Let Us Adore Him

Follow the Star

Nothing is Wasted

We Will Remember Them

Tested By Fire

How Do I Smell?

Let’s Get Talking

The Poetry of Heaven

A Life Poured Out

Prophetic Vision

7 Days Ablaze Devotional

Don’t Date A Christian

Kill the Cancer of Contempt

Help! I feel called to…

You Are What You Love

He Likes To Be Asked

Remember Who You Are

A Letter For You

We Are The Selfie

Chase Wisdom

Jesus Leadership

Give God Some Space

Choose Faith

Tear Down Those Walls

How To Handle Bad News

Get Into The Flow

The Power of Partnership

Is God Too Busy For Me?

It Is A New Day

Presents & Presence

Unashamed To Be Naked

How To Overcome Offence

Don’t Be A Pigeon!

How Do You Treat Jesus?

The Colosseum of Mercy

CBN: A Ministry of Prayer

Does God Tempt Us?

The Secret To Contentment

How Do I Pray Out Loud?

Why Should I Pray Out Loud?

Do You Believe?

“Call Me Dad”

The Pinnacle Is Praise

A Tip About Tense

When Bono Met Eugene

‘Wonder’ Review


Get A Life!

Generous Light

Faithful Prayer

Off By Heart

Faith In The Feels

Give God Some Space

Whose New Life?

Sharing Is Caring

The God Who Renames

Whatever The Weather

“To the Mothers”

Me, My Selfie and I

Making Time for God

Fresh Starts:

A Focus On Praise

Paul’s Challenge

Thanks to the Past

Steadfast Relationship

The Search For Approval

Don’t Date A Christian

My Champion, My Friend

Adoption And The Gospel

Remembering God

We Need “One Another”

Journal The Journey

Love Like Jesus

First Love

Love Language

Pursue Love

Down Is Up

The Simplest Law Of Love

Everything Made New

Too Busy Not To Love

Building Site Faith