The Forgotten History of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas'


"The Twelve Days of Christmas" was first printed in an English children's book in 1780, but its origins are probably much older than that.

The carol likely began as a children's game during the celebration of Twelfth Night, quite literally the 12th day of traditional Christmas celebrations.

Each child would take a turn singing a line, and if they forgot one, they'd either be out or have to pay a small penalty like a piece of candy or a coin. 

By the way, today the total cost of twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords a leaping, nine Ladies Dancing, eight maids a milking, seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree would be more than $34,000. 

Click on the player below to listen to each entry in the series "The Forgotten History of Our Favorite Christmas Carols."

Dan O'Donnell

Dan O'Donnell

Common Sense Central is edited by WISN's Dan O'Donnell. Dan provides unique conservative commentary and analysis of stories that the mainstream media often overlooks. Read more


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