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The 12 days of Christmas: What they mean and how to celebrate them

Beyond the gifts, discover the rich tradition of the 12 days of Christmas. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Many people are familiar with the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas," which lists various gifts given by a lover during the festive season.

But do you know when the 12 days of Christmas start and what they mean?

Christmas is celebrated to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, whom Christians believe is the Son of God.

The name ‘Christmas’ comes from the Mass of Christ (or Jesus).

A Mass service (which is sometimes called Communion or Eucharist) is where Christians remember that Jesus died for us and then came back to life.

The first time the birth of Jesus Christ was attributed to the date December 25 was in the 4th century, according to early Roman history.

Early celebrations of Christmas are thought to have derived from Roman and other European festivals that marked the end of the harvest and the winter solstice.

The 12 days of Christmas are the period in Christian theology that marks the span between the birth of Christ and the coming of the Magi, the three wise men.

 It begins on December 25 (Christmas) and runs through January 6 (the Epiphany, sometimes also called Three Kings’ Day).

The four weeks preceding Christmas are collectively known as Advent, which begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on December 24.

The 12 days of Christmas are a Christian tradition that dates back to before the Middle Ages.

They commemorate the time it took for the wise men, or magi, to travel to Bethlehem and recognize Jesus as the son of God.

Each day of the 12 days of Christmas has a different meaning and celebration in the Christian calendar.

For example, December 26 is the Feast of Saint Stephen, the first martyr of Christianity; December 28 is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the children killed by King Herod; and January 1 is the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.

Some people believe that the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” has a hidden religious meaning, with each gift representing a different aspect of the Christian faith.

For instance, the partridge in a pear tree is said to symbolize Jesus; the two turtle doves are the Old and New Testaments; the five gold rings are the first five books of the Old Testament; and the twelve drummers drumming are the twelve apostles.

However, this theory has been disputed by some historians, who argue that the song originated as a memory game or a children’s rhyme and that the gifts have no religious significance.

The 12 Days of Christmas is also a Christmas carol in which the singer brags about all the cool gifts they received from their “true love” during the 12 days of Christmas.

Each verse builds on the previous one, serving as a effective way to annoy family members on road trips.

Whether you believe the song has a deeper meaning or not, the 12 days of Christmas are a reminder of the joy and wonder of the birth of Christ and a time to celebrate with family and friends.

So, next time you hear the song, remember that the 12 days of Christmas are not over yet!

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