Home > christmas > The Twelve Days of Christmas (Hint: We’re on Day 3)

The Twelve Days of Christmas (Hint: We’re on Day 3)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005, 21:49 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

Merry Christmas again. No, I don’t mean "belated Merry Christmas". I’m sending you more Christmas greetings because Christmas isn’t over. It is true that the federal holiday of Christmas occurs on December 25. But the "twelve days of Christmas", so well-known because of the popular song, actually begin on Christmas day. December 25 isn’t the twelfth day; it’s the first.

Perhaps you’re thinking that I am wrong. After all, you can’t find a Christmas song on the radio on December 26. Many people start taking down their trees and other decorations about now. Even the Christian church celebrates the time leading up to Christmas, right?

OK, so you’re a little confused. The pre-Christmas period that begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas (which is typically the first Sunday after Thanksgiving) is the season of Advent, not Christmas. There is no significance to the twelfth day before Christmas or any of the subsequent eleven days. Count twelve days after Christmas, however, and you will arrive at a very significant commemoration&#151Epiphany, the observance of the magi’s visit to the infant Jesus. Some cultures emulate the magi and exchange gifts on Epiphany rather than Christmas day. Observant Christians are unlikely to take their Christmas trees down before January 6.

All of which is lost on the radio stations, which obviously take their cue from the stores. The retail industry, as we know, "celebrate" Christmas only to the extent that it helps them make money—which is to say, not at all after December 24. Keep in mind are the same businesses that have Memorial Day sales, as if stocking up on summer clothes or buying a new chain saw at 30% off somehow honors Uncle Joe who died in Vietnam back in ’68.

But I digress. Don’t take my word for any of this; check out this site for some more information. While you’re reading, I’ll spin some more Christmas music.

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Categories: christmas
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