"Twelve Days of Christmas", though believed by some to be of French origins, is an English Christmas carol that was first published as a chant, in 1780.
It was part of a book for children called "Mirth Without Mischief".
A century later, the folktales collector, Lady Gomme, talked about how she would play every Twelfth Day before eating twelfth cakes.
It has many versions and tunes. The most popular one comes from English composer Frederic Austin, who first offered the prolongation of the verse "five gold rings’", in 1909.
The twelve days begin after Christmas, or, depending on the tradition, the day after Christmas.
The song used to be named "Ten Days of Christmas" in some parts of northern England, as the lyrics were about only ten gifts.
The free Twelve Days of Christmas piano sheets are perfect to play next to your fireplace, having a hot beverage next to you.
Usually, they are an enumeration of twelve gifts, for each of the twelve days. The presents may differ from one culture to another.
The Christmas carol is not popular just in the United Kingdom, but also in Canada and the United States. A mention of "Twelve Days of Christmas" appears in the Indiana University Studies, made by Stith Thompson.
The French version is called "La Perdriole" and it’s not about just the twelve days after Christmas, but the ones in every month. The lyrics are similar, and the melody is slightly different.
"Twelve Days of Christmas" is also popular in other countries besides the ones already mentioned. In Australia, for example, although the English version is very popular, the gifts have been switched with Australian animals. Also, in Scotland the presents differ from the ones in the English version of the carol.
The melody of the song was created by Novello&Co, in 1909, when Austin made a few changes to the original verses: he replaced "coolly birds" with "calling birds", how the ending four verses were ordered and the word "on" that was present at the beginning of every verse. These changes became popular and were used in most of the carol’s version’s ever since.
From a simple chant, "Twelve Days of Christmas" became a Christmas song, but the early versions are very different from the actual Christmas carol.
It has been covered by many artists throughout the years, such as: Frank Sinatra and his children, Jeff Foxworthy, Perry Como, Burl Ives, Allan Sherman, The Muppets and Alvin And the Chipmunks.
"Twelve Days of Christmas" is an excellent example of an artistic creation that stood the test of time. Having been created three centuries ago, it’s still popular in many countries. The Christmas carol is a proof that traditional artistic creations live on, regardless of time and space.
The free Twelve Days of Christmas piano sheet music is available below. Stay tuned and enjoy a great Christmas. Stay safe.