The Twelve Days of Christmas is a beloved English Christmas carol thought to be French in origin. The earliest known print version was published in England in 1780 as a chant or rhyme, without music, as part of a children’s book, Mirth without Mischief, probably as a memory and forfeit game.
The standard musical tune we all know and love is associated with a 1909 arrangement of traditional folk melody by English composer Frederic Austin, published by Novello & Co. It is this version that first introduced the familiar prolonged and pronounced “five gold rings,” now often “five golden rings.”
Of course there have been many variations of the lyrics over its 200+ year history. And the song has been recorded by many notable artists like Burl Ives, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, John Denver, Harry Belafonte, and even Alvin and the Chipmunks.
The song is not without its artistic parodies as well. Fay McKay, an American musical comedienne, is best known for “The Twelve Daze of Christmas,” in which the gifts are replaced with various alcoholic drinks, resulting in her performance becoming increasingly inebriated over the course of the song. And Tom Arnold hosted a program in 2008, “The Twelve Days of Redneck Christmas” which featured various unique holiday traditions.
We all love to embrace traditions, new and old.
Please enjoy Bagdujour.com’s own tribute to The Twelve Days of Christmas.