The earliest known version of the song appeared in the s, and some historians actually believe the traditional English tune has French origins. The carol is a cumulative song, which simply means that each verse is built on top of the previous verses. On the second day of Christmas My true love gave to me Two turtle doves And a partridge in a pear tree.
The song started out as a game.
The lyrics we know are not the originals.
After hearing the song all season while decorating your Christmas tree , planning your most original holiday party , and baking the most delicious Christmas cookies — you may start to wonder, what does this mean? Truthfully, not much of the song makes sense from a modern perspective. Why are there so many gifts?
On Air Now
During the holiday season, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is heard everywhere from shopping malls to television commercials to church functions. But what does any of this mean? What does a song about doves, hens and geese have to do with Christmas? The carol has its roots in 18th-century England, as a memory-and-forfeit game sung by British children. In the game, players had to remember all of the previous verses and add a new verse at the end.