What are the 12 Days of Christmas?

What are the 12 Days of Christmas?

Level B1-B2

 

If you’re new to London, or the UK, or the English-speaking world generally, there are probably a lot of things that confuse you. Why do they drive on the left in England? Why do they “take” a shower in America, but “have” a shower in the UK? Why do all their leaders have ridiculous hair? What’s really in a Gregg’s chicken bake? The mysteries of the English-speaking world are endless.

 

Today’s blog is about a particularly mysterious and hard to explain tradition: the 12 Days of Christmas. You might be thinking, “how can a holiday that’s one day (25 December) actually be 12 days?” Are these 12 days before or after Christmas? And, most importantly, what are the twelve days of Christmas? In this blog we hope to enlighten and educate you and put your doubts to bed.

 

A Religious Celebration

 

First and foremost, the 12 Days of Christmas is a Christian religious celebration that takes place between Christmas Day (25 December) and 6 January. This is important in Christian theology because it marks the time between the birth of Jesus and the arrival of the three wise men, also known as the Magi (or Wise Kings in some cultures) in Bethlehem. Some Christian families use this time to celebrate important saints, like St. Stephen’s Day on 26 December.

 

A Song

 

The 12 Days of Christmas is also a popular song, or Christmas carol. In this song, the singer brags about how, for 12 days after Christmas, he got a different gift for his true love every day. Every day the gifts become bigger, more impressive and more extravagant. On the first day, the gifts start with a “partridge in a pear tree”. A partridge is a small, common bird – so nothing too impressive. However, by the twelfth day, the singer has already bought five golden rings, nine ladies dancing, ten lords leaping, among other gifts, and finally gets twelve drummers drumming for his true love. What a guy! Wouldn’t you love to get twelve crazy gifts from somebody who loves you? Where would you put everything?

 

At Ingla


At Ingla, we’re celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas by releasing a new video about grammar, punctuation, or tips to learn English every day on our website and social media pages. The videos will include grammar presentations by our teachers with a quiz to see if you were paying attention. Our pronunciation videos will all include a challenge in which you have to record yourself pronouncing a difficult word, or phrase, and send it to us. And, last but not least, our tips videos will give you great information on how to improve your English, or pass an exam, with some real, authentic practice. Every day, for 12 days, we’ll be giving away 12 hours of free English lessons, either at school in North London, or online. That’s 144 free hours of English classes! All you have to do is watch the videos, take the quizzes, participate in the challenges and you could be a winner too. Bookmark our website, ingla.co.uk, and follow our Instagram and Facebook pages so you don’t miss a day.

Match the underlined words to one of the definitions below

 

  1. The action, or process, of coming to a place (n.)
  2. To say something in a way to make yourself look better (v.)
  3. Something that has no end or limit (adj.)
  4. Excessive, doing too much (adj.)
  5. A Christmas song (n.)
  6. Most important (adj.)
  7. Silly, crazy, absurd (adj.)
  8. To jump very far, or very high (v.)
  9. To deal with something, so that it’s completely done (ph.)
  10. Fail to notice, hear or understand (v.)
  1. Arrival
  2. Brag
  3. Endless
  4. Extravagant
  5. Carol
  6. Foremost
  7. Ridiculous
  8. Leap
  9. Put something to bed
  10. Miss

Discussion

  1. If you live in a foreign country, what are some habits, customs, or holidays that you don’t understand?
  2. If you celebrate Christmas, or the 12 Days of Christmas, in your country, what do you typically do?
  3. Do you enjoy Christmas songs, like the 12 Days of Christmas? Why or why not?