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The Twelve Days of Christmas

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backseatcynic On January 19, 2010

Henryetta, Oklahoma
#1New Post! Dec 06, 2009 @ 17:14:12
I was nosing around a bit this morning, my curiosity having been piqued by the question on my mind: when do the twelve days of Christmas actually start? Here's what I found.

Origin of the Twelve Days of Christmas
The Twelve Days of Christmas is more than a lively holiday song; the 12 days of Christmas are traditionally the days between Christmas Day and the Epiphany, which is January 6. The meaning of the traditional 12 days of Christmas has been lost in segments of modern society.

The official 12 days are probably one of the most misunderstood parts of the church year for Christians. People who are unfamiliar with the liturgical church traditions may subscribe to the popular belief that the celebration is all over on Christmas Day.

Many people misunderstand the 12 days of Christmas, believing that they are the 12 days leading up to the Christian holiday. The first day of Christmas is December 25, the day picked to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

The Nativity Scene
Even though nativity scenes feature a manger with Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, Shepherds, Wise Men and various animals, it is not likely that all these people really showed up on the very night Jesus was born. After all, travel by camel is not as efficient as travel by automobile or airplane. Theologians believe that it took at least 12 days for the Wise Men to reach the Holy Manger, which is the Epiphany.

The first day of Christmas is on December 25. The twelfth night is on January 5. The Epiphany is on January 6.

Cultures that Celebrate on Epiphany
Some cultures, such as Scandinavian and Northern European cultures, celebrate the entire 12 days with family gatherings and feasts. Christmas decorations are usually not be put up until Christmas Eve and are left up until mid January.

French and English cultures celebrate Twelfth Night with a King?s Cake and wine as they remember the visit of the Magi.

In some Latin cultures Christmas is celebrated on December 25, but January 6 is the day of gift giving.

Enjoy the 12 Days of Christmas
With the two-plus months' build-up to Christmas, driven by shopping malls and department stores, it is understandable that people are ready to put the decorations away on the day after Christmas, but they may be missing the best part of the season. Once the shopping frenzy is over, the 12 days of Christmas are a great time to enjoy casual gatherings and reflect upon the real meaning of Christmas.

It seems that people are in a rush to put the decorations up and do much of their celebrating before the actual Christmas Day. While it is fine to celebrate all month long, the pre-holiday celebrations may make the actual Christmas holiday seem anticlimactic.

After the Christmas rush is over, it is great to sit back, appreciate all the hard work put into decorations, enjoy the Christmas Tree, eat cookies, drink egg nog and treasure the time with family and friends.
deal1 On May 06, 2011

not of this earth,
#2New Post! Dec 06, 2009 @ 17:29:20
Thank you! All to often,tradition gets lost.
When I was a youngster, The tree went up on Christmas Eve and came down on January 6. The tree still gets taken down on Epiphany,but now goes up on the second Sunday in Advent(we just finished ours).
I cannot for the life of me understand why so many folks put their tree up on Thanksgiving and take it down right after the presents are given.
deal1 On May 06, 2011

not of this earth,
#3New Post! Dec 06, 2009 @ 17:30:29
I wonder how much all of the gifts in the song would cost today?
HiImDan On August 05, 2023

Cleveland, the boil on the but
#4New Post! Dec 06, 2009 @ 18:03:49
@deal1 Said

I wonder how much all of the gifts in the song would cost today?

The Cost of the 12 Days Of Christmas for 2006.

* One Partridge in a Pear Tree: $144.99 ($15.00 Partridge, $129.99 Pear Tree)

* Two Turtle Doves: $40.00 ($20.00 each)

* Three French Hens: $45.00 ($15.00 each)

* Four Calling Birds: $479.96 ($119.99 each)

* Five Gold Rings: $325.00 ($65.00 each)

* Six Geese-a-Laying: $300.00 ($50.00 each)

* Seven Swans-a-Swimming: $4,200.00 ($600.00 each)

* Eight Maids-a-Milking: $41.20 ($5.15 each)

* Nine Ladies Dancing: $4,759.19 ($528.80 each)

* Ten Lords-a-Leaping: $4,160.25 ($416.02 each)

* Eleven Pipers Piping: $2,124.00 ($186.66 each)

* Twelve Drummers Drumming: $2,224.30 ($193.09 each)

The grand total of the song for 2006 - $18,920.59 And that's in U.S.dollars! In Aussie dollars, that amounts to $24,065.03.
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