Christmas 2010

Christmas card

Christmas card investigating the meanings behind ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’. Text reads:

Five Gold Rings

The Twelve Days of Christmas is a popular carol that dates back to the Middle Ages.

While most of the other stanzas seem fairly straight-forward, the gift of ‘five gold rings’ stands slightly on its own, being as it is in the midst of all manner of birds, from partridges to swans. In fact, it is thought that rather than being jewellery, the five golden rings actually refer to five ring-necked pheasants.

Another common misinterpretation is the fourth stanza – ‘calling birds’ – which has come to replace ‘collie birds’, meaning blackbirds.

When these errors are corrected, the pattern of the first seven gifts all being types of bird is re-established, painting the picture of a celebratory Twelfth Night feast of food, music and dancing.

Illustration detail