The Twelve Days of Christmas – Dec 25/26 – Jan 05/06

Background information: The Twelve Days of Christmas – the Festival and the Song

The Twelve Days of Christmas are the festive days beginning the evening of Christmas Day (December 25) through the morning of Epiphany on (January 6). The first night of Christmas is December 25–26, and Twelfth Night is January 5–6.

The Twelve Days of Christmas as a celebration and festival is old and steeped in traditions from Christian cultures around the world. For many, the idea of the 12 days as a length of celebration is based on a verse in the Holy Bible (Matthew 2:1-12), and a belief that it may have taken 12 days for the three kings (or magi) to travel to Bethlehem after first seeing the star.

Over the centuries, differing churches and sects of Christianity have changed the actual traditions, time frame, and their interpretations. By this day in time, the 12 days and nights are celebrated in widely varying ways around the world. For example, some give gifts only on Christmas night, some only on Twelfth Night, and some each of the 12 nights. What remains constant is the respectful and deeply religious honor celebrating the birth of Jesus on December 25th, and a period of twelve days and nights following leading to Epiphany.

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