The Twelve Days of Christmas
Festive atmosphere during the Twelve Days of Christmas
, also called Christmastide
("Christmas time") and sometimes referred to as Twelvetide, is another name for the festive Christmas
season celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a period of celebration, feasting and Saints' Days. It starts on Christmas Day, December 25, and ends on January 5
of the following year, known as Twelfth Night
or Epiphany Eve
It is a common misconception that the Twelve Days of Christmas are the twelve days before
Christmas, coinciding with Advent
and culminating in Christmas Eve
or Christmas Day, however this is incorrect
! In fact the Twelve Days of Christmas start
on Christmas Day, considered the "First Day of Christmas".
They encompass a number of important religious and secular celebrations, including Christmas Day on December 25, St. Stephen's Day
on December 26 (also called "Second Christmas Day" or "Second Day of Christmas" in some countries), Childermas (or the Feast of the Holy Innocents) on December 28, New Year's Eve
on December 31, New Year's Day
on January 1, and Twelfth Night
on the evening of January 5. However, Christmas Eve on December 24 and Epiphany
on January 6 are not part of the Twelve Days of Christmas.
While for most Western Christian churches the Twelve Days of Christmas fall on the dates listed on this page, for some denominations they start only on December 26 and last until January 6 of the following year.
"The Twelve Days of Christmas" is also the title of a popular English song, describing a series of gifts given on each of the twelve days of the Christmas season. The song starts as follows:
On the First day of Christmas my true love sent to me
a Partridge in a Pear Tree.
On the Second day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.
and continues like this for every of the twelve days, adding a new gift in every verse and repeating and accumulating the already received gifts.
Free printable 2023 calendar templates
A selection of downloadable, printable calendar templates for 2023 with US federal holidays, suitable for a variety of applications. Available for Word, Excel and PDF.