Did you know? Today is the first day of Christmas! The 12 Days of Christmas starts today and ends January 5th.
Many of us know the 12 Days of Christmas song. We know it’s about someone getting lots of gifts, especially birds, from their true love. A wee research led me to a number of ideas about its origin. I found reference to an early written version from 1780 published as a children’s “memory and forfeits” game, much like ‘I went to the market and bought’ game where players are tasked with remembering and repeating what was said before their turn. Others hypothesize it’s an English Christmas carol, a French folk song from 1770, and even a ‘code’ persecuted English Catholics used to practice their faith back in the 16th-17th centuries. A century later, it was described as a game played at a Twelfth-night celebration.
Fast forward to the 19th-20th centuries and the parodies ensued. Watch this family of 12 sing their own version called “Creative 12 Days of Christmas” because it’s hilarious!
Although opinions vary about the origin or meaning behind the song, today it’s rooted in both secular and Christian Christmas traditions. And it’s so much fun to sing! Whether the song is enjoyed for a secular or religious reason, we can extend the spirit of the season 12 more days, not only through gift giving, but also through acts of kindness.
And on January 6th, also known as Twelfth Night, Le Petit Noël, Little Christmas, Feast of the Epiphany, or Three Kings’ Day, the celebration continues! More about that later.
I hope you’ll join me!