What, exactly, are the 12 days of Christmas?
The 12 days of Christmas are the 12 days that separate Christmas day on December 25 from Epiphany, which is celebrated January 6. Depending on the church, January 6 may mark Christ's baptism (the Catholic tradition), or it may mark the day that the wise men visited the baby Jesus with their gifts.
In the past, there was a tradition of giving gifts throughout the 12 days, rather than stacking them all up on the morning of December 25. That tradition, as you might imagine, has never really caught on in America! We just aren't that patient. The song, however, demonstrates that some people once stretched out their gifts (and gave some fairly elaborate gifts...) over the full 12 days.
Drennon's Twelve Days of Christmas offers some interesting perspectives on the 12 days of Christmas and the song of that same title. This page also contains a thesis full of information! The Twelve Days of Christmas - Shows the original song, how it was changed, and all the superstitions included with those 12 days from different cultures.
· 1 decade ago