December 12, 2016

The twelve days in the carol “The 12 Days of Christmas” are the twelve days starting Christmas day, or in some traditions, the day after Christmas (December 26) to the day before Epiphany, or the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6, or the Twelfth Day).  The popular carol was first published in 1790, but the version we are familiar with today was arranged in 1909 by English composer Frederic Austin, based on a traditional folk melody.

The grand gifts given by ‘my true love’ are:
12 Drummers Drumming
11 Pipers Piping
10 Lords-a-Leaping
9 Ladies Dancing
8 Maids-a-Milking
7 Swans-a-Swimming
6 Geese-a-Laying
5 Gold Rings
4 Colly Birds
3 French Hen
2 Turtle Doves
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

This carol is a cumulative song, meaning that each verse is built on top of the previous verses.  If all of the gifts were added up, cumulatively, there would be 364 gifts, a gift for almost every day of the year.

 

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