The 7 Birds of Christmas

A Partridge in a pear tree

The partridge is thought to be a very symbolic bird and will fight to the death to protect its young.

The partridge we find in the UK is the Grey Partridge, it is a strictly ground dwelling bird and therefore you are unlikely to see it in a Pear Tree.

The species is in decline, with 37 thousand breeding pairs left in the UK.

The partridge is thought to represent Jesus Christ.

Two Turtle Doves

These twin bird represent both the old and new testaments of the bible. 

This is a beautiful bird, not much larger than a song thrush

In the UK, this species are in severe decline due to the intensification of agriculture, urbanization and generally loss of habitat. 

Three French Hens

Traditonal accounts of the song indicate that these birds represent faith, hope and love. One hen for each.

French hens are a domestic breed, they are thought to have originated from jungle fowl.   

Four Calling Birds

The four calling birds are thought to represent the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. 

Its a little unclear about what species they could be, some accounts say fowl but most research say that are black birds.

The calling bird in the song is a variation of the word colly or colly bird. The definition of the word colly is black. Simply put, and colly bird is a black bird. 

 

Five Gold Rings

Some people believe that the rings are associated to the neck of Pheasants.

More traditionally accounts indicate that the gift of the rings represents first five books of the old testament.  

Our pheasants in the UK have just one white ring around the neck. 

The golden pheasant, which is native to western China has many rings around its neck. In this song it is thought that the five rings represent five birds for the table. 

 

Six Geese a laying

The role of geese in this song can be linked to the first story found in the bible: each day represents a day in creation at a time when the world was hatched or created by God.   

Seven species of goose can be found in the UK and pictured here is the Pink Footed Goose.  Each year, approximately 200,000 of these birds migrate here from there breeding grounds in Iceland and Spitsbergen, to over-winter in our wetlands. 

Seven Swans are swimming

It seems that the elegance and grace of the swan led them to being included in the song. 

Each swan represents a spiritual gift: the seven gifts of the holy spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge and Piety.

The picture is of the mute swan, this can be seen all year and was named mute as it is the quietest of our three species. 

The Twelve Days of Christmas lyrics

On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
A partridge in a pear tree
 
On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
Two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
 
On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
Three French hens, two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
 
On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
 
On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
Five gold rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
 
On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
Six geese a-laying, five gold rings, four calling birds
Three French hens, two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
 
On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
Seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying, five gold rings
Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
 
On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
Eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying
Five gold rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
 
On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
Nine drummers drumming, Eight maids a-milking,
seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying,
Five gold rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
 
On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
Ten pipers piping
Nine drummers drumming, ten pipers piping
Drumming, piping, drumming, piping
Eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying
Five gold rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
 
On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
Eleven ladies dancing, ten pipers piping, nine drummers drumming
Eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying
Five gold rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
 
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
Twelve lords a-leaping, eleven ladies dancing, ten pipers piping
Nine drummers drumming, eight maids a-milking
Seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying
And five gold rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree, and a partridge in a pear tree

Share this post...

Facebook
LinkedIn

Leave a comment