Why 12 Days of Christmas Celebrations?

by WriterArtist

The obvious reason of 12 days of Christmas celebrations was perhaps people did not have enough of holidays and feasting.Read on to find out the pagans origins of such celebrations.

Well, celebrating 12 days of Christmas was never so easy. There’s a lot of maths involved in it, calculating the presents for all those days and the money you will be spending. Don’t you think it is better now that we get to celebrate Christmas for just one day, with holidays and leaves hard to come by? There’s no need to feel jealous about people enjoying more days in good olden days. Of course they had plenty of time without the internet and television gobbling our prime time making our life style sick and sedentary.

On why we insist the celebrations of twelve days must be in all likelihood the customs that pagans commenced or the Romans celebrated during Saturnalia or the Yuletide customs that northern European celebrated. Perhaps there is some truth in the story of Alfred the King who decreed 12 days holidays at Winchester so that people could start a complete and long tradition of dozens of customs and rituals that accompanied the winter solstice.

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The Short Explanation of 12 Days Long Christmas Celebrations


In all probability the long winter celebrations of Christmas have pagan origins. The Romans were also fond of celebrating longer without much to do in winter than waiting for spring to come. It also justifies the reality of the fact that there wasn’t a field to sow and harvest and the worries to take care of the plants in autumn season. Best time to hibernate if nothing else to do. What better way to celebrate than dining with delicious food and wine with good company. This time of the year echoes the Roman’s grand Saturnalia and hence the need of celebrations.



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Pagan Origins

During the period of 17th and 18th centuries, the Christians were celebrating Christmas starting from Christmas Day to the Epiphany. Epiphany is the day the Christian Church celebrated the visit of the Magi also known as three kings who came to worship the infant Jesus in the humble manger of Bethlehem.

It is also famous as English twelfth night celebrations, this was an awesome time for people to feast and make merry. Food was obviously an important part of festive season and people would gather around each night to enjoy the feast, dance and sing. The young men and women attended these festivals and there is a suggestion of the courting for eligible maids and grooms.

The Origin of Twelve Days of Christmas Carol Song


This melodious 12 days of Christmas carol song must have originated over time and amidst many different cultures and traditions. The song evolved like many other songs and has reached its zenith in the form today. Sung for more than 2 centuries the Christmas carol has captured the imagination of singers before it was composed, recorded and published in its latest form today. Various versions of the song were composed and sung for more than a century or two. The original song had originated in the country of France, but the popular song is best known in English version. 

Have you ever celebrated Christmas for 12 days?


12 Days Christmas Song

Published in 1780 with other rhymes in a book called “Mirth without Mischief” it was sung while playing games. A leader would sing a verse and each of the players had to repeat the verse one by one as it is. The player whose memory failed and who made a mistake while reciting the verse had to pay a penalty which could either be a kiss or possible a treat. Each new verse is build on the top of previous verse describing a gift. The gifts became grander as the song progressed which fundamentally shows the theme of making merry and enjoying the feast with a delightful gift.



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Fairies, elves and sprites costumes are one of the most popular costumes for girls in Christmas other than Santa Claus and Snow white costumes.
Updated: 12/08/2014, WriterArtist
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