Exposing a Christmas myth

It has been appearing for years. It claims to tell the secret meaning behind the old English carol The Twelve Days of Christmas.

But it is untrue. Balderdash.            Anti-Anglican propaganda.

It keeps getting denied, but then someone else resurrects it the following year. I have even seen the myth appear in magazines.

According to the myth, from 1558 until 1829 Roman Catholics in England were “not permitted to practice their faith openly.”

Someone during that era supposedly wrote this carol as a hidden catechism song for young Roman Catholics.

However, according to reliable researchers, the explanation is nothing more than a fanciful tale, similar to the many apocryphal “hidden meanings” of many various nursery rhymes.

The claims appear to date only to the 1990s, marking it as an invention of modern day speculation rather than historical fact. There is no evidence for the claims it makes. In fact, several flaws in the proffered claims argue compellingly against them.

The key flaw is the differences between the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches were largely differences in emphasis and form. All the religious beliefs supposedly preserved by the song The Twelve Days of Christmas were shared by Roman Catholics and Anglicans alike.

Both groups’ Bibles included the Old and New Testaments. Both had the Four Gospels. Both included God’s creation of the universe as described in Genesis, and both listed the Ten Commandments.

There was absolutely no reason why any Catholic would have to hide the “secrets” of any of the concepts supposedly symbolised in The Twelve Days of Christmas, because they were basic articles of faith common to all denominations of Christianity.

None of these items would distinguish a Catholic from a Protestant. None of them needed to be “secretly” encoded into song.

The Encyclopedia of Christmas called the Twelve Days of Christmas theory a “genuine urban myth.”  A good computer search engine is called Snopes. I suggest you look up:  http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/music/12days.asp

For more of Reg’s blog entries, visit: www.regnicholson.com