Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Twelve Days Of Christmas

Have you ever wondered when the twelve days of Christmas are or what they mean?  BrankletsNBling and GirlieGals will be hosting a 12 Days of Christmas Sale from Dec. 1 - Dec. 12, but before the sale begins, I wanted to know more about the 12 days of Christmas history and meaning.  I decided to do a little research on the subject and what I found was very interesting. Most of us think the twelve days of Christmas are the twelve days preceding Christmas Day, however, the Twelve Days of Christmas are the festive days beginning Christmas Day. This period is also known as Christmastide and Twelvetide. The Twelfth night of Christmas is always on the evening of 5 January, but the Twelfth Day can either precede or follow the Twelfth Night according to which Christian tradition is followed.   

"The Twelve Days of Christmas" song comes from an English "memories-and-forfeits" game, in which a leader recites a verse, then each player repeats the verse, then the leader adds another verse, and so on until one player makes a mistake. The player who errs was required to pay a penalty, such as offering up a kiss or a sweet. 

Does this song have any meaning?  A bit of modern folklore claims that the song's lyrics were written as a "catechism song" to help young Catholics learn their faith.   There is no substantive evidence supporting this claim, however many Christians believe the following interpretation of the song:

A partridge in a pear tree
Two turtle doves
The Old and New Testaments
Three French hens
The three kings bearing gifts
Four calling [sic] birds
The four Gospels
Five gold rings
The Torah or Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament
Six geese a-laying
The six days of Creation
Seven swans a-swimming
Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
Eight maids a-milking
The eight Beatitudes
Nine ladies dancing
Nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
Ten lords a-leaping
The Ten Commandments
Eleven pipers piping
The eleven faithful Apostles
Twelve drummers drumming
The twelve points of the Apostles' Creed


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