On what day do the 12 Days of Christmas actually begin?
December 12, 2003 8:20 AM   Subscribe

When do the 12 days of Christmas actually begin?
posted by oh posey to Grab Bag (6 answers total)
On Christmas Day. The 12th Day is January 5th, the day before Epiphany.
posted by contessa at 8:27 AM on December 12, 2003

See also: What are the twelve days of Christmas? That is, according to the hoser authority. First there's Christmas Day, then Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, New Years Day and Eve.. that's five. There's always a couple Saturdays and Sundays in there somewhere, that's nine. And of course the three infamous Mystery Days.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:31 AM on December 12, 2003

So thats why its bad luck to keep the tree up beyond the 5th?
posted by Orange Goblin at 10:11 AM on December 12, 2003

Orange Goblin: one explanation: the tree/yule log originated in pre-christian rituals, with one purpose being to protect the household over the time of the solstice. The days around the solstice are sometimes seen as dangerous or 'dead' days, perhaps because this is where the sun stands still bewteen old and new years, and maybe also to do with reconciling the gap between the lunar and solar calendars at the end of a year (here c.f. the gap between Halloween and Bonfire night). Anyway, the tree protects the house by absorbing any evil/bad stuff around at this time. At the end of the festival, you can get rid of this evil/bad stuff by burning the tree/yule log, or tossing it out (or here in Boulder CO the city will come round and chip it for mulch for the parks).

Oh, and when I was a kid, the 6th of Jan was '12th night.'
posted by carter at 10:34 AM on December 12, 2003

My birthday is January 6th, and last year my girlfriend actually did the 12-days gift thingie. A gift on Xmas day, a pair of something the next day, three of something the following day, and so on, until my birthday. I remember many of the gifts, though not necessarily which day they fell on. I'm pretty sure I wound up getting an odd number of socks somewhere in there (and the spare thrown in later) and a 12-pack of beer. Anyway, it was literally the first time in my life I was glad to have my bday right smack in the middle of the Xmas/New Year's aftermath.
posted by scarabic at 10:50 AM on December 12, 2003

One of the family traditions I was taught demanded that all traces of Christmas celebration had be put away before New Year's Day. And under no circumstance could any clothes washing take place on New Year's Day as it would bring bad luck for an entire year. Of course I was also taught the 12 days of Christmas were the 12 days prior to Christmas. So thanks for straightening me out and let me remind you to eat your blackeye peas and collard greens on the 8th day of Christmas.
posted by oh posey at 11:05 AM on December 12, 2003

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