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It also happens to be wonderfully mathematical. To really get to grips with the maths hidden in the 12 Days of Christmas we really are going to count legs. Having studied the lyrics extensively, I can confirm that if you are unsure of the type of animal being mentioned, it is in fact a bird. Rings of course do not have any legs and so will add zero to our total, meaning that we can basically ignore them from this point onwards. I kid you not. It even takes place annually between 26 December and 6 January to provide the most accurate reflection of the 12 gifts across each of the 12 days. It is honestly one of the best things that I have ever seen.
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The tunes of collected versions vary. The standard tune now associated with it is derived from a arrangement of a traditional folk melody by English composer Frederic Austin , who introduced the familiar prolongation of the verse "five gold rings" now often "five golden rings". There are twelve verses, each describing a gift given by "my true love" on one of the twelve days of Christmas. There are many variations in the lyrics. The lyrics given here are from Frederic Austin 's publication that established the current form of the carol.
The earliest known version of the song appeared in the s, and some historians actually believe the traditional English tune has French origins. The carol is a cumulative song, which simply means that each verse is built on top of the previous verses. On the second day of Christmas My true love gave to me Two turtle doves And a partridge in a pear tree. On the third day of Christmas My true love gave to me Three French hens, Two turtle doves And a partridge in a pear tree.