The Twelve Days of Christmas are upon us, and last year we learned they actually start on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, and end on the Feast of the Epiphany, Jan. 6.
This year’s lesson is that the English Christmas carol has a deep, hidden meaning. Between 1558 and 1829, Roman Catholics were not permitted to practice their faith openly in England, and the song was written to help youth remember their catechism. Each of the gifts are actually code for a religious reality
The “True Love” is Jesus Christ, as is the partridge in the pear tree because that bird “is willing to sacrifice its life if necessary to protect its young by feigning injury to draw away predators.”
How about the Old and New Testaments being the two turtle doves? Faith, hope and love represented by three French hens? The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as the four calling birds? Others include the six days of creation and the 10 Commandants.
Interested in the full rundown, check out the Catholic News Agency write-up.
With apologies to the author, we’re using the carol to look back at the year with our favorite stories, features and photos. So, here are the Twelve Days of Christmas, OutdoorChannel.com style.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, Outdoor Channel gave to me, twelve deer camp visits.
"From Gophers to Crushing It" Lee and Tiffany's rise a simple case of whitetail passion.
"Noll Camp A Real Grind" Wisconsin family teaming up for hunts, sausage since '40s.
"PC Out The Door in Pa." Deer hunters are Criswell's 5X5 camp do the guy thing.
"Orange Army 'Holiday'" Established in 1952, Arkansas camp fueled by family, tradition.
"Bob's Back In The Game" Most Wanted's Richardson wasn't about to miss Deer Camp.
"A Step Back in Time" Georgia's Fort Creek Farm spins 1800s feel to Deer Camp.
"The Wildgame Way" Busbices' Deer Camp mixes hunts with extensive product testing.
"Banks' Buck Fever Festival" Deer season opener big doings in small Arkansas town.
"There Is Crying In Hunting" Cianciarulos teach youth intricacies of hunt during Illinois opener.
"Knight and Hale's New Ride" Elder statesmen still hold that new car feel for hunting.
"Workingman's Slam" In Texas' parched Parker Co., memories win out over inches.
"A Bow, Paddle and Pirogue" Frenette hunts unlikely marsh because 'it's what I have.'
On the eleventh day of Christmas, Outdoor Channel gave to me, eleven bass fishing winners.
"Classic's Golden Ticket" Illinois pro rallies to win Bassmaster Wild Card, claim 56th spot.
"Cherry On Top" N.C. angler wraps up perfect day to win Bassmaster All-Star event.
"Ike Makes Some Magic" Iaconelli keeps Classic string alive with Open victory.
"Martens Claims AOY Title" As one sheds burden of Mr. Second Place, another takes it on.
"Lane Shifts Into Overdrive" Chris Lane takes title to secure Classic berth on home waters.
"A Toast to the Champions" The Jack Link’s Major League Fishing events were won by Brent Ehrler, Denny Brauer and Edwin Evers.
"Running Down Spot in Classic" Idaho's Palaniuk cruises 200 miles a day to win Bassmaster Elite event.
"Skeet Wins War, Elite Battle" Californian jumps from seventh with largest bag on final day to win.
"Scared Straight" Jason Christie cracks Ramada Quest for first Elite victory.
"Nothing But Winners" Everything smells like roses at Elite event on Falcon Lake.
"Pace Picks Up Classic" Mississippi's Cliff Pace triumphs at Bassmaster Classic.
On the tenth day of Christmas, Outdoor Channel gave to me, ten fish a leaping.
"Real Serpent of the Sea" 18-foot oarfish found off Catalina Island 'discovery of a lifetime'.
"Gulf Snook Harvest Reopens" Closed since 2010 freeze, linesiders rebounding in Florida waters.
"Cool, Calm and Catching Them" Dana Point charter adapts to conditions to put clients on fish.
"Reel Music To Their Ears" Guides teach rainbow trout fishing tactics in scenic Big Bear Lake.
"Sculpin Spectacle" Over 200 caught, filleted on charter from Southern California coast.
"Fun on the Fly" Buggin' for bluegill offers enjoyable, relaxing activity.
"New Bass Species Discovered " Florida biologist proud that Choctaw bass found scientists.
"Stream With the X-Stream" Fleming takes Fly Rod Chronicles to trophy Virginia fishery.
"Come Sail Away" Taking on Florida Keys sailfish a slice of Blue Heaven.
"Nothing Goes As Planned" Behind the scenes with Zona, McKinnis.
On the ninth day of Christmas, Outdoor Channel gave to me, nine ladies hunting.
"Getting the Girls To Go" Tiffany Lakosky offers advice on making women feel at home on hunt.
On the eighth day of Christmas, Outdoor Channel gave to me, eight hunting features.
"Trophy or Deer Management?" Bigger antlered bucks just a benefit of creating healthier herd.
"Ah, There's the Rub" Guide finds scouting for rub lines increases trophy odds.
"Deer Pattern You Back" Lee Lakosky says hunters need consistent pressure on deer woods.
"Dr. Deer's Camera Take" Proper use increases odds of taking bigger bucks, Dr. Kroll says.
"Broadhead Ins And Outs" Correct kinetic energy a good exit strategy, Cianciarulo says.
"Culling Out The Infirm" Illinois program to curtail CWD in deer herd deemed a success.
"Don't-Do-This Training" Fall from stand ends 30-year streak of Missouri openers.
"Taking Aim at Deer Guns" Racks of rifle choices offer something for every hunter.
On the seventh day of the Christmas, Outdoor Channel gave to me, seven sharks a-swimming.
"Professionals Film Record Mako" Shortfin weighing 1,323 pounds a potential IGFA all-tackle world record.
"Shark Week Of Their Own" Anglers off California coast experience nighttime catch of mako
"I Was a Human Chum Line" Capt. Bo Johnson wades in with pockets full of fish for Madfin Shark Series.
"Fearless in Face of Sharks" Guide's adrenaline junkie wife jumps right in to catch sharks.
"Baring Her Teeth" Tough to Bear when girlfriend outfishes experienced guide.
"Shark Week in Florida" Guides advise how to hook some of the 15,000 migrating sharks.
Check out the photos from the 2013 Madfin Shark Series
On the sixth day of the Christmas, Outdoor Channel gave to me, six birds a soaring.
"Dawn Plus 10 Million Years" Sandhill cranes again flying high after near decimation.
On the fifth day of the Christmas, Outdoor Channel gave to me, five Golden Moose.
And The Moose Goes To… The Professionals come away with three awards, including Best Overall.
On the fourth day of the Christmas, Outdoor Channel gave to me, four hours of inspiration.
Keeping Carone In The Game Event benefits Outdoor Channel cameraman's battle with pancreatic cancer.
On the third day of the Christmas, Outdoor Channel gave to me, three calling titles.
Allen Calls in Third Duck Crown Third championship among Arkansan's ‘wildest dream'
On the second day of the Christmas, Outdoor Channel gave to me, two turkey nuts.
Testicle Festival a Real Ball Byron, Ill., serves up turkey testicles by the sackful.
On the first day of the Christmas, Outdoor Channel gave to me, Wisconsin’s new No. 1 trophy.
"New Badger State Best" At 260 inches, 'Jim Baker Buck' new Wisconsin nontypical record.
Visit OutdoorChannel.com's Christmas page.