On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to meTwelve drummers drummingEleven pipers pipingTen lords a-leapingNine ladies dancingEight maids a-milkingSeven swans a-swimmingSix geese a-layingFive gold rings (five golden rings)Four calling birdsThree French hensTwo turtledovesAnd a partridge in a pear treeAnd a partridge in a pear tree
The Twelve Days of Christmas start on Christmas Day and last until the evening of the 5th January – also known as Twelfth Night. The Twelve Days have been celebrated in Europe since before the middle ages and were a time of celebration.
Twelfth Night was a big time of celebration with people holding large parties. During these parties, often the roles in society were reversed with the servants being served by the rich people. This dated back to medieval and Tudor times when Twelfth Night marked the end of ‘winter’ which had started on 31st October with All Hallows Eve (Halloween).