Ancient Holiday Mysteries Explained!


Composite image by the author.

Madison Raap, Managing Editor

You may have wondered who even came up with the 12 Days of Christmas? And why are there 12 days of it when it’s only on the 25th? Or that caroling just doesn’t correlate with Christmas? Maybe you’ve questioned, why would anyone hang a mistletoe? 

Whether you have thought about any of these questions or, if your interest was piqued, then continue reading. 

The 12 Days of Christmas, which is not just a song by the way, traditionally marks the 12 days between the birth of Jesus and the coming of the 3 wise men, from December 25th through January 6th. Some families choose to honor these 12 days by having feasts for certain saints on the days leading up to the 6th. Such as St. John the Apostle on the 27th and St. John Neumann on the 5th. 

However, many people know the 12 Days of Christmas as a Christmas carol. In the song, a man sings about all the gifts he receives from his true love in the 12 Days of Christmas. Including three French hens, two turtle doves, a partridge in a pear tree, and many more. 

In case you were wondering, all the gifts the singer receives comes out to be a total of 364 gifts at a price of $170,298.03, according to 2019 sale prices.

Now, why do we sing carols at Christmas time? 

Christmas Carols have come from a variety of different places, as different cities and towns have different traditions and celebrations that their carols branched from. In Roman times, people would cheer themselves up with festivals that included singing and dancing. These loud and noisy songs got a makeover when Christians discovered them and put in new words that they felt would spread the gospel better. The Victorians also created some carols with the intention of encouraging family time together as well as good behavior.

These carols eventually became known as what we know them as today. Such as Jingle Bells, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and The Little Drummer Boy. 

The history of the mistletoe comes from the ancient Druids and Norse mythology. In the ancient Druids, they used mistletoe to ward off spirits and to bring good luck. Norse mythology sees mistletoe as a sign of love and friendship. 

The tradition of kissing underneath the mistletoe was popularized in the first book version of ‘A Christmas Carol’. So if you wanna catch your lover underneath the mistletoe this year be sure to tell them all about the history of the mistletoe- that’s sure to win them over. 

There you have it, three holiday mysteries solved and put to rest. You’re welcome!