“ON the first day of Christmas…”
The twelve days of Christmas are the twelve days that separate Christmas Day (the 25th) and Epiphany (January 6th). Some parts of the world celebrate January 6th as the day Jesus was baptized. Others believe it was when the Magi (Wise men) arrived to worship the baby Jesus in the stable.
In some European countries, it is custom to give small presents over the twelve days of Christmas to celebrate – rather than give them all at once on Christmas morning. That takes a lot of patience!
In the popular Christmas carol, “The twelve days of Christmas,” one young lady was asked to be very patient indeed! Her true love decides to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas by sending her lots of birds and party entertainment.
Exactly how many gifts did she receive from her true love? Well – the first couple of days weren’t too bad. But by day 4, things were getting out of hand.
Day 1: one partridge (a type of bird) sitting in a pear tree on the first day.
Day 2: two turtle doves AND another partridge in a pear tree.
Day 3: three french hens, two more turtle doves and another partridge in another pear tree!
Day 4: Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtledoves and a partridge in a pear tree!
Notice a pattern?
F-i-i-i-i-v-e golden rings!
On day five, she receives five golden rings and a repeat of all the stuff she got on day four. The five golden rings may have been a reference to a type of bird that had a “gold” collar. Then again, maybe the five golden rings were real gold. The lady receiving the gifts could have used the gold to buy food for all her new animals and the coming houseguests!
The next few days brought more birds, trees and her first batch of maids-a-milking. Were they milking cows or goats? The song doesn’t say. Either way, she now had to clean up after more animals!
As the twelfth day approached, her house was even more crowded. Her true love sent some entertainment. He sent dancing ladies, guys jumping all over the place, folks playing flute-like instruments and a whole drum corp of drummers. Wow. That’s one big party!
“…And a partridge in a pear tree!”
No one knows for sure why the song, “Twelve Days of Christmas”, was written, but may have been a way to teach children how to count forward AND backward. On the other hand, it may have been a silly song, written simply for people to enjoy. Either way, it has been sung for centuries. Even the Muppets from Sesame Street have joined in the fun by singing their own funny version of the song (a parody). http://www.tinyd.net/12daysofxmas.html
Why not write your own version of the “Twelve Days of Christmas”? Think of things from your own life that are funny, important to you or extreme dreams. Perhaps your song might start like this… “On the first day of Christmas, my grandma gave to me – one 42” plasma TV.” Or maybe it starts out as, “On the first day of Christmas, my mama gave to me – a family of koalas living in a eucalyptus tree!” Invite your friends to help you. You never know what gifts you’ll end up with!
Added Fun:Want to know how many animals and houseguests “true love” sent? Here’s a hint – start at the end of the song and work backwards, adding like animals and people.
For example: Start with the turtledoves. On the twelfth day, he gives 2 turtle doves, as he does on days 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2. When you add all the animals, you end up with 22 turtledoves.