The Twelve Days Of Christmas
At the time of my writing this, it is early December, and so everywhere around me, people are beginning to get into the Christmas spirit. Christmas is a very special time of the year, that means spending time with the people you care about and giving gifts to those you love. But another seemingly important part of the holiday that has always been relevant in my life and the lives of many others is Christmas music. One of the key songs that most children learn in the UK is the 12 days of Christmas. But considering there are 24 days before Christmas day, so why does the song only include 12?
In truth, it is not the twelve days before Christmas, but rather the twelve days including and after. It is said to be the time taken for the Wise Magi to travel to see baby Jesus and recognise him as God’s son. This event is called the Epiphany and according to the workings out of the dates, the date for such an event would be on January 6th, twelve days from the date said to be the date of Jesus’ day of birth. While it may have already been proven that Jesus was not actually born in December, we still celebrate both Christmas and its twelve days in the month of December at the end of the year. Each of the twelve days, starting with Christmas day, is supposed to represent a different Saint, with the Virgin Mary being celebrated on the first day of the new year. While there are many theories as to what the true meaning of the song ‘the twelve days of Christmas actually mean, with each more absurd and more complicated each time, it was actually just a child’s game played amongst friends. One would be challenged to try and recite the entirety of the song, adding one new line every single time, as it is often performed now. If someone failed to be able to perform the entire song, then they would have to owe the person who challenged them a favour, much like a game of truth or dare.
So while the truth is that the twelve days of Christmas actually occurring after Christmas day actually has already been, today it still takes on much of the same functions that it does nowadays. A simple little rhyme is used as a test of memory or as a joyous Christmas song. Now, though, it has become more, inspiring many different children’s Christmas plays and the final line is often toted as a common joke. While it may have strayed away from its original meaning, the song and rhyme still hold a strong and specific hold on those who sing the lines.