The following letter appeared in todays Opelika-Auburn News:
To the Editor:
Im depressed to see Mary Belk (Dec. 29) repeating once again the internet myth that the song Twelve Days of Christmas originated as a coded way of transmitting Catholic doctrine.
She and others have published this misinformation in your paper before, and I have corrected it before (see your letters column for Dec. 24, 2003, and Dec. 29, 2007).
As a simple Google search will confirm, the claim has no historical basis, and no one has yet uncovered any references to it earlier than the 1990s.
Moreover, the doctrines supposedly encoded in the song are generically Christian rather than specifically Catholic, and so are nothing that Catholics would have needed to hide from Protestants.
Roderick T. Long