The 12 days of Christmas History and Gifts

The 12 days of Christmas

Uncover hidden superstitions meanings

What To Know About The Song and The Celebrations of the “12 Days of Christmas.”

When do the twelve days of Christmas start?

The 12 days of Christmas commence on Christmas day - the 25th of December, up until the 5th of January. The origins date back to the 16th century in England, with the first date on record being in the 1780s. There is a famous song, which surely you have heard about the 12 days of Christmas. The origin of the song is not well known, but it is believed to have been in existence for quite a long time. Their is allocated a song leader whom reads one verse after the other with other singers repeating the lyrics until one of the players made a mistake and he was to pay by giving a kiss or a sweet to the other singers. This was the original intention of the song. This version of the song is printed in a children’s book during the 1780s called “The Mirth Without Mischief.” Despite this, there are clues that, the song existed long before then. The song seems to be French in origin due to some of the items which are mentioned such as the partridge, which wasn’t found in England until it was introduced by France in the 1770s.

The Possible Origins

It is believed that this song, “12 days of Christmas,” could be an alteration of the song, “A New Dial” that was referred to as “Those Twelve Days” which dates back to 1625 which was later on assigned a Christian undertone to the current song. The dial song was sung in a question-answer form, just similar to the way the “Twelve Days of Christmas” was recited. The Tradition of The 12 Days of Christmas: Here is some background on the the 12 days of Christmas:

  • The first day, which is on 25th December, is when the birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated – Christmas day.
  • The 26th December, is the second day, referred to as Boxing Day or Stephen’s Day in some quarters. St Stephen is known to be the first Christian Martyr.
  • On the third day, which is on 27th is the St. John the Apostle's’ day, who was one of Christ’s friends and disciple.
  • On the 4th Day, the 28th December is the day when the boys who were killed by Herod while in search of Jesus Christ are celebrated.
  • St. Thomas Bennett is celebrated on the 5th day which is the 29th December.
  • The 30th December is the 6th day referred to as St. Egwin of Worcester
  • Day 7 is on 31st December is the New Year Eve where Pope Sylvester is celebrated.
  • Day 8 is the 1st January, is the new year celebrations cum Mary the Mother of Jesus day
  • Day 9 is on 2nd January, where two important 4th century Christians are celebrated; St. Gregory Nazianzen and St. Basil the Great
  • The 3rd January is the 10th day, the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus
  • Day 11th is on 4th January St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is celebrated on 4th January, the 11th day. She was the first American saint of the 18th and 19th century.
  • Day 12 is on 5th January is the final day, Epiphany, who was the first Bishop in American is St. John Neumann.

Gift ideas of the 12 days of Christmas

If you are trying to find a gift for each day of the 12 days of Christmas then this is a great way to give a person a gift. Here are some ideas of gifts covering the 12 days of Christmas:

  • Day one - Christmas day - a pear tree or a partridge decoration, any type of bath oil or bubble bath containing pear as an extract, pear jelly, partridge door stop, tree candles with partridge.
  • Day two - Two turtle doves - necklace that contains a dove, dove bath oil or shower gel.
  • Day three - Three French hens - a book about France or anything related to hens such as egg cups, eating French bread, French cheese or any dish that is French in origin.
  • Day four - Four Calling Birds. Any mobile or smartphone accessory, bird feeding equipment, bird watching book, any gift that has birds on it.
  • Day five - Five gold rings. Jewellery that has circles upon it or napkin holders.
  • Day six - Six Geese a laying. Anything that has eggs
  • Day seven - Seven swans a swimming. A swan lake DVD, the book the ugly duckling, 
  • Day eight - maids a milking - milk bath oil, a cow doorstop. Milkshake.
  • Day nine - dancing CD, ticket to see a play that includes dancing.
  • Day ten - ten lords a leaping, harry potter book, lord of the rings DVD.
  • Day eleven - Pipers piping - bagpipe music, pipers for a child for craft time.
  • Day twelve - Drummers Drumming - a drum for a child, drum music CD.

Each of the gifts you give during the twelve days of Christmas means that the excitement after Christmas is still maintained. This will encourage happy memories, especially for Children. The 6th of January is called the Epiphany and therefore all Christmas celebrations come to the end.It is important to mention that the 12th night is a time to celebrate the ending of Christmas and many people in ancient times held lavish parties. This night was associated with the end of winter, which commenced on Halloween. Traditionally, a cake was often rated. This was rich and made with fruit, butter, nuts and spice. Today, this is known as the Italian Panettone. A bean was often found in the cake, which if found when eaten the celebrations were centered around the person finding this object. If we look back to Roman times they often had a feast known as Saturnalia and that the twelfth night was associated with this celebration.

In Georgian times there would be an object put into the cake and whoever found this would automatically become king and queen for the evening. On this night the party would consist of many games such as tossing an egg and egg and spoon races. Another amazing game was known as snapdragon where participants picked out nuts from a plate of brandy which was on fire! The Monday after these celebrations was known as “plough Monday” and the farming work would commence. For good luck cake decorations must be taken down on the twelfth night (6th of January). Share this with your friends on social media so they uncover the meaning behind the 12 days of Christmas.

By Florance Saul
Dec 27, 2016