What, exactly, are the 12 days of
The 12 days of Christmas are the 12 days that separate
Christmas day on December 25 from Epiphany, which is celebrated January 6.
Depending on the church, January 6 may mark Christ's baptism (the Catholic
tradition), or it may mark the day that the wise men visited the baby Jesus with
In the past, there was a tradition of giving gifts throughout the 12 days,
rather than stacking them all up on the morning of December 25. That tradition,
as you might imagine, has never really caught on in America! We just aren't that
patient. The song, however, demonstrates that some people once stretched out
their gifts (and gave some fairly elaborate gifts...) over the full 12 days.
Twelve Days of Christmas offers some interesting perspectives on the 12 days
of Christmas and the song of that same title. This
page also contains a thesis full of information!
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