Smart Living What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?

20:51  19 december  2017
20:51  19 december  2017 Source:   mentalfloss.com

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" The Twelve Days of Christmas " (Roud 68) is an English Christmas carol that enumerates in the manner of a cumulative song a series of increasingly grand gifts given on each of the twelve days of

Few Christmas carols are as much fun to sing as " The 12 Days of Christmas ." Each day, the gifts become more elaborate until a menagerie of people, animals, and objects have all been given to one very lucky true love. But there's more to this song than leaping lords and swimming swans.

Everyone knows to expect a partridge in a pear tree from your true love on the first day of Christmas ... But when is the first day of Christmas?

What Are the 12 Days of Christmas? © iStock What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?

You'd think that the 12 days of Christmas would lead up to the big day—that's how countdowns work, as any year-end list would illustrate—but in Western Christianity, "Christmas" actually begins on December 25th and ends on January 5th. According to liturgy, the 12 days signify the time in between the birth of Christ and the night before Epiphany, which is the day the Magi visited bearing gifts. This is also called "Twelfth Night." (Epiphany is marked in most Western Christian traditions as happening on January 6th, and in some countries, the 12 days begin on December 26th.)

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The Twelve Days of Christmas , also known as Twelvetide, is a festive Christian season celebrating the Nativity of Jesus Christ . In most Western ecclesiastical traditions, " Christmas Day" is considered the "First Day of Christmas " and the Twelve Days are 25 December – 5 January, inclusive.

While sects of Christianity celebrate the 12 days of Christmas differently, certain ones, such as the Eastern Orthodox Church, consider the Some exchange gifts on each of the 12 days instead of only on Christmas day. What are some other unique customs certain sects of Christianity have in

As for the ubiquitous song, it is said to be French in origin and was first printed in England in 1780. Rumors spread that it was a coded guide for Catholics who had to study their faith in secret in 16th-century England when Catholicism was against the law. According to the Christian Resource Institute, the legend is that "The 'true love' mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The 'me' who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the 'days' represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn."

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 In debunking that story, Snopes excerpted a 1998 email that lists what each object in the song supposedly symbolizes:

2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments

3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues

4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists

5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.

6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation

7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments

8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes

9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit

10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments

11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles

12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

There is pretty much no historical evidence pointing to the song's secret history, although the arguments for the legend are compelling. In all likelihood, the song's "code" was invented retroactively.

Hidden meaning or not, one thing is definitely certain: You have "The Twelve Days of Christmas" stuck in your head right now.

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