12 Days Of Christmas Artist Trading Card by John Bloodworth Gentleman Crafter

The 12 Days Of Christmas

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.

Melody of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, from Austin’s 1909 arrangement – Wikipedia

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! 

12 Days Of Christmas Artist Trading Card by John Bloodworth Gentleman Crafter

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.

J :)

15 thoughts on “The 12 Days Of Christmas

  1. Whoooo fab creativity and interesting obscure stuff! Bliss. My kind of just rightness so well done you. Oh yeah check out www. White Christmas for all things Christmas related knowledge-wise.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks John for a year of inspiration, great examples and lovey talking. Have a verry Merry Christmas with family and friends and may the New Year bring you nothing else but good things.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks John, that’s really interesting – I love learning the history behind songs and sayings. Re The Twelve Days of Christmas Song, I love the funny version by Frank Kelly, it’s well worth a listen. I truly hope that you and all your followers have a lovely Christmas and a very healthy New Year. Liz X

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A very interesting story behind such a popular song. My Grandson was fascinated! Would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy, Happy New Year X

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi John

    Wishing you a very merry Christmas, a happy new year and a successful, healthy 2019.

    Christmas wishes to all your followers too.

    Got to get back in the kitchen and bark out some orders. I have a Stollen proving. Fell in love with them a long time ago (BFs mum in law is German) and once I had to go Gluten Free I needed to get a recipe sorted… Some people drink at Christmas, I eat Stollen!

    T x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hadn’t realized how many changes to the song lyrics. I would like to send you all the best thoughts and a peaceful time this Christmas.
    I am looking forward to your act about the song too. You have been an inspiration to me throughout this two years. I am so looking forward to the next adventures you take us on. See you here in the New Year. Have a great cup of tea too. X

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks John for all your inspiration and loads of fun stuff throughout the year- much appreciated. May I wish you (& fellow followers) a very happy and healthy Christmas and new year. Very best wishes to you all xx

    Liked by 1 person

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