The Butchart Chronicles : December 26, 2014

Day 1: The Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve Days of Christmas(Xavier Romero-Frias - own work.  CC BY-SA 3.0)

You are most likely familiar with the The Twelve Days of Christmas, an English Christmas carol (Roud No. 68) that enumerates, like that of a repetitive song, a list of increasingly fabulous gifts given on each of the Twelve Days of Christmas. It is thought to have been first published in 1780 in a children's book, Mirth without Mischief, at the time without music. It may have had a French language origin. The tune that you are familiar comes from a folk melody by English composer Frederic Austin (c. 1909).

Different traditions count the 12 days as either starting on the 25th or the 26th of December. At The Gardens we defer to the latter. Various countries and traditions have different gifts. Some have suggested that each of the gifts have significance representing the food of each month of the year. At one time the weather on each of the Twelve Days was carefully recorded to see what it would be in the cooresponding month of the new year.

Changes have been made over the years. Calling birds used to be "four colly birds", colly being an English term for "black" - from colliery which meant coal mining. In North America "five golden rings" is often heard; yet, the original is "five gold rings". Additionally, the word "On" leading off each of days was not added until 1909.

A Partridge in a Pear Tree
So, "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a Partridge in a pear tree! On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." - stay tuned each day through the Twelve Days of Christmas and we will publish a new post with a photo of that day as represented at The Butchart Gardens. Kids, 12 and under, remember to get your "Magic of Christmas Walk" from the Visitor Centre and find all 12 Days of Christmas at The Gardens and turn it in to the Visitor Centre for a special treat!

Take a look at this 12 Days of Christmas at The Butchart Gardens video, made by a visitor to The Gardens.

Finally, being Canadian we can't help but give a shout out to:

The All-Canadian 12 Days of Christmas!