Why are there Twelve Days of Christmas - History and Traditions of Christmastide Season

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[Best Syndication News] You all have heard the caroling song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” but why are there 12 days of the holiday celebration. While most of us celebrate December 25th, some still follow the tradition of celebrating the full twelve days. With a big celebration ending on January 6th, Epiphany.

“The Twelve Days of Christmas” song was first published in England in 1780. It is believed to be French in origin and was traditional as early as the 16th century. There is not much understood on the definite meaning of each of the gifts given on the twelve days of Christmas. Some suggest that it is a reflection of hidden Catholics catechism lessons for children because of suppression in England. Other suggest that it represents the peak of each of the 12 months of harvests and hunting.

The first day of Christmas is December 25th. Each day after is the procession of the 12 days of Christmas ending on January 5th. The next day, January 6th is called the Feast of the Epiphany.

Depending on the Christian organization or the country that they live, there are different holiday traditions that occur on different days. Some give gifts only on Christmas day in the evening. While others give gifts only on the 12th day of Christmas. Some give gifts every day of the 12 days of Christmas.

Epiphany in the Eastern Christianity Churches celebrate this day as more important than December 25th, which is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. They celebrate January 6th as the baptism of Jesus Christ. Epiphany in other Christian churches will celebrate January 6th as the day that the wise men came to deliver gifts.

In early days of the holiday, it was more traditional to deck the halls on Christmas Eve and keep the decorations around until January 5th. On January 6th the decorations would come down. Some people bake a special “King” cake for Epiphany. The kingcake would often times have a small plastic baby representing Baby Jesus or a trinket baked into the cake. The person that would get the plastic baby would get special privileges and would often get the special chore of bringing next year's king cake.

In Louisiana this tradition is more focused on Mardi Gra tradition, but the roots are the same. The tradition came from colonists that moved to Louisiana from France and Spain. The "Día de Reyes" (Wise Men Day) is celebrated in Spain and Mexico on January 6th. They have a special king cake with a baked in baby Jesus. The person that gets the baby Jesus in Mexico are obligated to bring it to the nearest church on February 2nd.

In France they celebrate on January 6th with a “La galette des Rois”, which means the cake or "wafer" of the Kings. The french celebrate Ephipany in the same manner of baking in a figurine, the one that gets the piece of cake with it gets to be king for the day and will be the person that gets to supply the cake for the next year.

So if you are late on giving your gift on December 25th, you can always tell the recipient about the twelve days of Christmas.

By: N Wilson

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other information

How Does the Baby Get in the King Cake? YouTube Video

Ref: Wikipedia.org

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