Now You Know

No, by the grace of God, you will NOT plead ignorance. You will NOT testify that you never knew any better because no one ever taught you anything better. You will not plead that you were never told.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

When Does One Celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas?

Of course, the title to this post is a rhetorical question because I'm not asking you, I'm going to tell you. Here it is, the 3rd Sunday in Advent and I had not yet posted anything in the spirit of the Christmas season. It's time to remedy that.

It's curious, but some people actually aren't aware of when to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. They've heard the song, they know of the partridges in pear trees, but they haven't a clue about when the 12 days start and when they end.

I've asked people the question in the title to this post, curious to learn their thoughts about it. Many are under the impression that there is no such thing as the 12 days of Christmas and there never was, except as a fiction for the sake of the song. Others believe that it was a quaint custom, observed sometime back then in the time period known to them as "yore," and that the 12 days would begin 12 days before Christmas and culminate with a big celebration on Christmas day itself.

Both views above are incorrect. The Twelve Days of Christmas begin on Christmas day and end on January 5th, the day before the feast of the Epiphany.

Have you ever heard of the play by William Shakespeare called Twelfth Night? Well, "twelfth night" is the night of the 12th day of Christmas, the evening before the feast of the Epiphany.

Oh, and if you are wondering how much the gifts in the song would cost now, it runs to about
$17, 300 US according to this article.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.