A bunch of people that I know thought that the 12 Days of Christmas song acted like some kind of countdown to the big day.
Wrong! The truth is far more interesting. Read on to discover the true origins of this age old tradition…
“The Twelve Days of Christmas” is an English Christmas carol by Frederic Austin that celebrates the twelve days that make up the Christmas season, starting with Christmas Day and was first published in 1780 in a children’s book called, “Mirth Without Mischief“.
The tune now associated with it is derived from a 1909 arrangement by English composer Frederic Austin, who first introduced the familiar prolongation of the verse – fiiiiive goooooooooooooooold riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiings.
I can hear you all doing it now. Hehe.
Speaking of the lyrics, there have been a fair few changes over the years. Most interestingly, in the 1780 version ‘Four Calling Birds’ was actually ‘Four Colly Birds’. Colly meaning black. Alternatives were used throughout the years but it wasn’t until the 1909 version that ‘four calling birds’ was cemented as the go-to lyric.
Over the years ‘My True Love Gave To Me’ has been interchanged with ‘My Mother Sent To Me’. Why? This is unclear.
Even the pear tree that is the corner stone of the carol has been changed from “Juniper Tree” to “June Apple Tree” to “Pear Tree”.
In actual fact, most of the objects, activities or groups associated with each day have changed over the years too! Check out this Wikipedia page to see what interesting alternatives have been used in past versions.
Anyhoo, the reason that I am waffling on about this? Well, other than my genuine fascination and surprise that I didn’t know any of this, I got making some stuff to encapsulate the song and wanted to share that with you so, starting tomorrow there will be an ATC appearing on this blog for each of the twelve days!
Can’t believe that I actually got this many made given the workload I’ve had this year but – yaaaay!
Right, I’d best let you get back to scoffing chocs, listening to the Christmas tunes or indeed ignoring the whole massive event and simply having a calm cup of tea and relaxing.
Whatever you are doing, I hope you enjoy it.
Bye for now.