Twelve Days Of Christmas Ends In Wolverhampton

Wolverhampton`s radio station, WCR FM, based in the Mander Centre, is celebrating the end of the twelve days of Christmas with a special poem commissioned from their Poet in Residence – but without a partridge in a pear tree. “The Twelve Days of Christmas is a song that everyone sings” explained Ian Henery, Poet in Residence “and it sticks in everyone`s head like an earworm.  How many people give any thought to the meaning behind it?  Love it or hate it the song is a staple of Christmas and people sing it over and over but why 12 days?” The answer will be broadcast on 8th January on 101.8 FM, online, Spotify and Listen Again.  Ian Henery`s blog will also appear on the radio station`s social media. The first version of the song was in a 1780 children`s book called Mirth Without Mischief and people would sing it on Twelfth Night (the eve of Epiphany) on 6th January.  The version of the song we know today was written in 1909 and Christmas music became “a thing”.  Artists like Perry Como, John Denver and The Muppets performed it.  The song became established and once people knew it they could not unknow it. “All singing songs aside” said Ian Henery “there is a historical basis for the Christmas song we know and love.  Christians celebrate a period of 12 days surrounding Christmas with 2 significant holidays – Christmas on 25th December and Epiphany on 6th January.” According to Ian Henery the 12 days of Christmas mark the time it took after the birth of Jesus for the Three Wise Men (or Magi) to travel to Bethlehem for the Epiphany when they recognised him as the Son of God.  Epiphany is sometimes called Three Kings Day and, in some traditions, celebrated as Little Christmas.     Popular Epiphany customs include having one`s house blessed, eating Three Kings Cake, winter swimming, singing songs and attending church.  It`s customary to remove Christmas decorations on Twelfth Night – Epiphany Eve. “Have you done it”?  asks Ian Henery.  “It`s time to take down your Christmas tree.  Celebrate Epiphany by starting fresh and clearing your home of festive decorations and don`t worry – it will be back before you know it”. Baby Jesus – The Real Magic of Christmas Magic drifts through the frosty air, Wide-eyed children look to the sky – A simple truth, nothing compared, Only at Christmas reindeer fly. Christmas magic?  No, not at all, But baby born in oxen stall.   Do the Social Services know? Please tell the truth and do not jest; Didn`t hear this on the radio – Patience is thin, please do not test. You`ve done it already, I fear, With stories of flying reindeer.   It`s true, those presents you receive, Given to you on Christmas Day: Let`s repeat, so you believe, Christmas is Jesus` Christ`s birthday And He is giving you the gifts So, at winter time, hearts may lift.   Winter time – skies are bleak and drear: Christmas, magic and mystery, Glory with the end of the year Story of the Nativity. Jesus – our one hope on this earth, The present God gave with His birth.   Christmas!  The Day of Christ the King! So come, you blizzard, snow or rime: Hear the message that Jesus brings And joy fills hearts at this glad time. Let`s praise God and be generous, God has given Jesus to us.   Ian Henery

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