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The 12 Days of Christmas

2023-12-10 00:00:00 / episode: 328


As a little boy I remember singing The 12 days of Christmas.

My mom took me to church every Sunday and I was confirmed and entered the church and acted as a choir boy and as an altar boy.

Despite all that I know virtually nothing about the 12 days of Christmas.


Hi and welcome to the Les Perras podcast episode number 328.

This podcast is excellent for extensive English listening, to help you expand your listening vocabulary.

Today's podcast episode is about the Twelve Days of Christmas.

When are they?

I was rather surprised to learn when I was researching for this podcast,

that the 12 days of Christmas start on Christmas Day.

Well for the most part they start on Christmas day.

There are some places that change that a little bit but basically they start on Christmas Day and they keep going until about January 5th or so.

What do they mean?

I'm not sure I have a keen insight into what they mean.

The best I could figure out without going into enormous detail is that on every day there's a site variation in the way they celebrate.

They might eat this or they might eat that.

They might have some presence here or some presents there.

But they're all connected to Christmas and the Nativity of Jesus.

North American Mistake

One of the cool things is the North American mistake regarding the 12 days of Christmas.

This might be wrapped up with calendars and is probably mixed up with Advent calendars,

but the confusion leads a lot of people in North America to think that the 12 days of Christmas start 12 days before Christmas.

I was surprised to hear that the 12 days of Christmas start on Christmas Day.

It seems like this is well known in Britain, but it certainly isn't well known in North America.

Not advent calendars

So the Advent calendar has got everything confused because the Advent calendar is usually 12 days long too.

And so people assume that 12 days of Advent are the 12 days of Christmas.

The calendar companies do nothing to dissuade us from this idea.

This might be because of the popularity of the 12 days of Christmas song.

It's a very strong Christmas tradition to sing the song and listen to the song, and have children memorize it at school.

And the coincidence of 12 days of Advent and 12 days of Christmas being the same 12 is too strong to resist.

People associate with the other and calendar companies make more money.

The Song

So I guess the 12 days of Christmas is written for the upper middle class or higher.

The reason I say this is because they're giving gifts everyday for 12 days.

And some of the gifts and song are quite opulent.

Common folk don't do this. Christmas is enough. But singing the song is still fun.

I remember some people in elementary school did give 12 gifts for 12 days each one day at a time before Christmas in elementary school.

But they were usually very small gifts like chocolate or cards.

And they were inspired by the song.

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