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The 12 days of Christmas

is really a CRAZY song!

It is what we call a Christmas carol, and for some reason us evil teachers often teach it to our young students for their Christmas play or concert at school...just imagine, these poor kids, forced to memorize a bunch of outdated gibberish that nor they nor their parents will understand, just to make their English teacher "look good" because their class can sing the whole song from the beginning to the end. Yes, I was once that English teacher, guilty as charged. Thinking of that funny anecdote made me take a minute to analyze the lyrics of this traditional carol, and I figured I'd explain them to you AND give you a modern day version of them. So, have a few laughs and thank the English gods that modern English isn't so crazy!

On the _____ day of Christmas my true love sent to me...

Translation

Modern day comparison 😂

​Twelve drummers drumming

​12 people playing the drums*

​Tickets to a rock n' roll concert

​Eleven pipers piping

​11 people playing the flute*

Tickets to a classical music concert

​Ten lords a-leaping

​10 rich men jumping around

​Tickets to a ballet show

​Nine ladies dancing

​9 ballet dancers

​Tickets to a ballet show

​Eight maids a-milking

​8 women milking their cows

​A lot of milk

​Seven swans a-swimming

​7 pretty white swans*

​A boat trip

​Six geese a-laying

6 geese* laying eggs

​A carton of eggs

Five golden rings

​Well that hasn't changed!

​5 gold rings!

​Four calling birds

4 birds singing

A hiking trip

​Three French hens

3 chickens

​A new down jacket*

Two turtle doves

2 grey doves*

​Lunch in a fancy restaurant

​And a partridge in a pear tree

A strange bird in a pear tree

​Dinner in a Michelin star restaurant

What would you like to receive from your significant other? I think I would take the modern day equivalent of three french hens or the partridge in a pear tree 😂. On that note, I hope you have a lovely Christmas doing whatever you like doing on Christmas, I plan on eating good food and drinking good wine, of course in good company! Check back next week for the first blog post of 2023!


If you would like to watch a silly video with pictures to illustrate, here you go!


 

Glossary

  • carol: Christmas song

  • outdated: old fashioned, not modern

  • gibberish: nonsense, words that don't make sense

  • guilty as charged: an set phrase used to say that someone is at fault or responsible for an action

  • to figure: informal synonym for "think" or "decide"

  • the drums: the instrument that makes a lot of noise that you play with two sticks

  • flute: a metal instrument with holes that you play with your mouth and fingers

  • swans: big pretty white birds

  • geese: big angry grey birds

  • doves: small, pretty grey or white birds

  • down jacket: down is the filler made with feathers, now usually made from synthetic materials

  • significant other: your partner (boy/girlfriend, husband/wife)

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