I should have remembered to document and footnote, since you were bound to step in on any religious question--but seriously, I really should have saved my notes, because I don't even have a copy of the texts that I compared last year--I know longer remember which catechism was current at the time of the suppression, but my recollection was that there were different mumbers of things--the fruits of the Holy Spirit and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit were different and neither named nor enumerated as such--
My father-in-law, was my resource on this, he was the perfect scholar on all things Catholic, and sadly, he passed away this last Spring--
Under his learned guidance, I learned that there are significant differences between the different catechisms-- (He also knew nearly everything about Broadway and Hollywood musicals as well as singers and songwriters)
At any rate, the Twelve Days deal seems to date back to before the time of Christmas, having been rooted in Roman Saturnalia Festival--
Here is the letter that I received this year, although it turns out that the person who forwarded it to me deleted a lot of the text--I have written to ask him to send the rest, but he is away till after the holidays--
>--------- Forwarded message ---------- > >There is one Christmas carol that has had me baffled. What in the world do >leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially that partridge >who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas? > >Today I found out! > >>From l558 until l829, Roman Catholics in England were not allowed to >practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a
>catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning; the >surface meaning, plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their >church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality >which the children could remember. > >The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ. > >Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments. > >Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love. > >The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and >John. > >The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of >the Old Testament. > >The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation. > >Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy >Spirit: Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exortation, Contribution, Leadership,
>and Mercy. > >The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes. > >Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, >Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, >Self-control. > >The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments. > >Eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples. > >Twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the >Apostles' Creed. > >So there is your history lesson for today.