Friday, December 14, 2012

The 12 Days of Christmas (song)

   Did you know that the song, "The 12 Days of Christmas", which we normally think of as an English Christmas carol, may be of French origin?  Evidence suggests that it was first published in written form in England in the year  1780.
   Although the actual origin of the song is not known, it may have begun as a Twelfth Night game in which the leader would recite a verse, then each of the players in turn would  recite the same verse.  The leader would then add another verse and so on until one of the players would make a  mistake in repeating and would then have to offer up a penalty such as a kiss or a sweet treat.
  Evidence shows that the song is older than the printed version, although it is not known how much older.  Over the years there have been several changes to the lyrics.  Several different versions in the lyrics exist in different countries, also, like France, Scotland and Australia.
     The 12 days in the song refer to the 12 days after Christmas (or in some instances, Christmas Day or even the day after Christmas) and go to the day before Epiphany or January 5th (Twelfth Night).
    No matter what the origin, it remains to this day, a favorite Christmas carol of mine!

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