#EngKnowledge: The Twelve Days of Christmas

Have you ever heard of the phrase ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas,’ fellas? Have you ever wondered what it is and what it means?

‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ is a Christmas carol that dated back to 1780 when it was first used in England as a chant or a rhyme. It is believe to have a French origin.

It tells a story of accumulating gifts for twelve days since Christmas Day; each day the amount of gift increases from the day before.

assorted color gift boxes
Photo by Giftpundits.com on Pexels.com

The song goes like this (source: Google):

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me
A partridge in a pear tree
On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Three French hens, two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
On the fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Five gold rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Six geese a laying, five gold rings, four calling birds
Three French hens, two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
On the seventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, five gold rings
Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
On the eighth day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Eight maids a milking, seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying
Five gold rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Nine drummers drumming, eight maids a milking, seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, five gold rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Ten pipers piping
Nine drummers drumming, ten pipers piping
Drumming, piping, drumming, piping
Eight maids a milking, seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying
Five gold rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Eleven ladies dancing, ten pipers piping, nine drummers drumming
Eight maids a milking, seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying
Five gold rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Twelve Lords a leaping, eleven ladies dancing, ten pipers piping
Nine, drummers drumming, eight maids a milking
Seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying
And five gold rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree, and a partridge in a pear tree

 

There are several variations and versions to this song but all tells a story of cumulative wealth or gifts. There are also similar verses in Scotland, Faroe Islands, and France. The exact origins and the meaning of the song are unknown, although many believe that it came from children’s memory and forfeit game. Each child in succession repeats the gifts of the day and forfeits or is given penalty for each mistake.

Do you want to try to memorise it, fellas?

 

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Thursday, 26 December 2019.


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