The Twelve Days of Christmas is widely known all over the world, thanks largely to the Christmas song that we all hear. But not many know about its origins. In fact, the Twelve Days of Christmas was first celebrated in England in the 16th century. It was in the 17th century – the first year, actually, that Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night premiered in the court of Elizabeth the First.
The Twelve Days of Christmas is marked by the Saint Steven’s Day, December 26. It ends on the 6th of January. As compared to the Advent (the first of December, which is not really that much celebrated in England), the beginning of the Twelve Days of Christmas is traditionally a time to celebrate and be merry. It is the time for families to get together and to light candles on the window sills in as a sign of welcome.
Another belief during the Twelve Days of Christmas is that the log in the fireplace should never stop burning. This log is what is known as the Yule log. Its significance further extends to the idea that as long as it’s lit, it will bring luck throughout the New Year. With the more common use of electric and gas for fireplaces today, though, the custom is rarely followed.
Supposedly, eating mince pies will also bring you good luck – as long as you eat them during the Twelve Days of Christmas. Ancient belief is that the number of mince pies you eat during this period will bring you good luck in the same number of ensuing months.
No matter what you believe, the fact remains that The Twelve Days of Christmas is something to look forward to.