Well, you know all about the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and its putative symbolism.
I, however, have discovered the REAL meaning behind the song - it's chock-full of allegories relating to the American Revolution!
In descending order...
- Twelve Drummers Drumming: As thirteen is considered unlucky, the writers of the song consolidated North and South Carolina to get Twelve Colonies.
- Eleven Pipers Piping: A reminder of eleven important cities - New York City; Philadelphia; Charleston, SC; Savannah, GA; London; Paris; Boston; Yorktown, VA; Quebec, Canada; Saratoga, NY; and Valley Forge, PA.
- Ten Lords a-Leaping: The Parliament (especially the House of Lords) "leaping" in frustration.
- Nine Ladies Dancing: A veiled reference to the party in which Francis Marion ('The Swamp Fox') broke his ankle jumping out a window.
- Eight Maids a-Milking: The American Revolution lasted eight years (1775 to 1783).
- Seven Swans a-Swimming: Since the American Navy was outmatched by the British, they had to stay in port most of the time. Their sails remained pure white instead of weathering - hence the "swans."
- Six Geese a-Laying: The British hired many German mercenaries, particularly Hessian light infantry, to fight the Americans. And, of course, those Germans goose-stepped.
- Five Golden Rings: The Americans won five important battles in the Revolution: Concord, Trenton, Saratoga, Eutaw Springs, and Yorktown.
- Four calling Birds: Refers to a. the messengers who summoned delegates to the Stamp Act Congress, b. the messengers who summoned them to the First Continental congress, c. Paul Revere and William Dawes, who warned of the British raid on Concord, and d. the messengers who summoned delegates to the Second Continental Congress.
- Three French Hens: The French Navy, who were just enough to ensure America's victory at Yorktown.
- Two Turtledoves: The two crucial characters in the American Revolution were Thomas Paine, whose Common Sense roused America against the British, and George Washington, whose competent generalship brought about America's victory.
- A Partridge in a Pear Tree: This is another tribute to Washington, idealized as perched in a Liberty Tree which bears sweet fruit.
On a serious note, remeber the soldiers who fought in the Revolution this Christmas, especially those who fought at Trenton.