On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me four calling birds. An old English version of the song refers to them as “colly” birds. Colly, refers to something covered with coal dust, something completely black. After taking a quick tour of the internet I gathered the following information on colly birds:
They are most likely blackbirds. Wikipedia states blackbirds unlike many other black creatures, are not normally seen as a symbol of bad luck. They have the ability to sleep effectively with half their brain while the other half maintains a degree of alertness. Unlike migratory fowl, blackbirds remain during the winter if food is available.
In the theological version of Twelve Days of Christmas, four colly birds represent the four Gospels found in the Bible. To this Wikipedia adds: “The symbolic meaning of blackbirds is eternally linked to the “dark vs light” phases of the moon. I’m talking nocturnal awareness. … The bird is symbolic of life in the heavens (higher ideals, higher path of knowing) and the color black is symbolic of pure potential.”
The gift my true love gave symbolizes her faithfulness and commitment to our relationship, ever watchful to protect it no matter the season of life. Together we will prosper with the wisdom and blessings from heaven.
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:25-27
Colly is probably right. Somebody probably went around singing calling and everyone picked up on it.