The Silly Season is here! A time of nativity scenes, Christmas trees, Santa Claus, reindeer and presents. Whether you say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays the festive season is unavoidable. Most of us know the basics of the Christmas story, but where did all these other Christmas traditions come from?
My true love gave to me…
Early in Christianity the most common days for celebrating Christmas were the 25th December in the western Roman empire and the 6th January in the east. The 6th January is known as the Feast of Epiphany and celebrates the arrival of the wise men (or magi) and the Christmas story generally.
When the 25th December took over as the date, the 12 days between the two events became known as the 12 days of Christmas.
The song lyrics were published in England in 1780 and are thought to be French in origin. The well known melody was added by English composer Frederic Austin in 1909. Austin adapted a traditional folk song to match the lyrics and give us the now classic elongation of the “five gold rings” line.
There is a myth that the lyrics have a hidden Christian meaning, however this is internet urban legend. It is simply a tongue twisting fun song meant for children.