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Sunday, December 25, 2005

On the First Day of Christmas...
by Chuck

Christmas E-Cards

On the first day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
A partridge in a pear tree.

The Twelve Days of Christmas refer to the twelve days between Christmas Day and Epiphany which is the day the Church celebrates the visit of the Magi or Three Kings to see Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem.

The twelve days usually start on Christmas Day and run through January fifth, the eve of Epiphany. However, there are some variations. In times past people calculated the days as running from sunset to sunset rather than midnight to midnight as we so now. In this case the twelve days started on Christmas Eve. Some others have counted the twelve days beginning with December 26th and running through Epiphany itself.

Like other Christmas customs, the twelve days of Christmas evolved from local customs and holidays that often pre-dated Christianity and Christmas. To this day the way we celebrate Christmas is changing and growing as society changes. Some customs and traditions become outdated and disappear, some change with the times and new ones emerge. Modern central heating has eliminated fireplaces making it impossible to burn a log for twelve days but Yule logs today have evolved into a log-shaped cake to be eaten during the holidays. St. Nicholas has become Santa Claus and has moved from Turkey to the North Pole, and so on. As we will see in the coming days the stories and myths surrounding this carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas", have grown and changed as well as the carol itself changing over time.

Copyright © 2005-2006 by Charles J. Nugent Jr. and Victor L. Nugent.

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