The Twelve Days of Christmas is the festive Christian season, beginning on Christmas Day (25 December), that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This period is also known as Christmastide
The first day of Christmas is Christmas Day and each day is a feast in memory of a Saint or event associated with the Christmas season. The days are as follows:
Day 1: 25 December: Christmas Day, formally called the Solemnity (high holy feast day) of the Nativity of the Lord.
Day 2: 26 December: St. Stephen, the first deacon and first martyr. His martyrdom account can be found in the Bible, in the book the Acts of the Apostles. This day is mentioned in the carol "Good King Wenceslas". In Britain,Boxing Day, a non-religious banking holiday occurs on the first day following Christmas. In Ireland this day is also known as Wren Day.
Day 3: 27 December: St. John the Evangelist and Apostle.
Day 4: 28 December: Feast of the Holy Innocents, the young male children ordered murdered in Bethlehem by King Herod, according to the Gospel of Matthew. The traditional Christmas song "The Coventry Carol" describes this event.
Day 5: 29 December: St. Thomas Becket.
Sunday after Christmas Day: Feast of the Holy Family of St. Joseph, St. Mary and Jesus.
Day 6: 30 December St Egwin of Worcester .
Day 7: 31 December: Pope St. Sylvester. In Scotland this day is known as Hogmanay. In Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland and Slovenia, New Years Eve is still referred to as Silvester.
Day 8: 1 January: The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Before the Second Vatican Council it was also observed as the Circumcision of the Lord.
Day 9: 2 January: St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen. In England, the Lichfield Martyrs are also celebrated on this day.
Day 10: 3 January: Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus.
Day 11: 4 January: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American saint. In medieval times this was The feast of Saint Simon Stylites.
Day 12: 5 January: St. John Neumann. In the UK this was the Feast of St. Edward the Confessor, King of England. The rest of Europe celebrated St. Julian the Hospitaller on this day. The evening of the 5 January is also Twelfth Night.
In the United States, the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord is celebrated on the second Sunday after Christmas Day. On the third Sunday after Christmas Day, the Church celebrates the Baptism of the Lord.
The songs gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, much in memory of the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so..."
The other symbols mean the following:
2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed
January 3rd Holiday
The Tenth Day of Christmas (Christianity) - A continuation of the celebration of Christmas, which lasts 12 days.