We wish you a Merry Christmas

And a Christmas conundrum

Partridge watercolour painting

The 'Twelve days of Christmas' recounts a true love sending cumulatively more gifts each day, corresponding to the number of the day. Here's Daniel's take on the single Partridge in a Pear Tree, sent on the first but then every other day of Christmas. Here's the conundrum, if that means 12 partridges were received overall, how many gifts in total did our true love send? (Read on for the answer!)

A 'carol' means a song of dance or joy. The modern Christmas carols were originally sung by wandering minstrels, and later by door-to-door carol singing. Nineteenth century carolers were rewarded traditionally by figgy pudding (similar to Christmas pudding) by the wealthy home owners. In this context, the famous carol becomes increasingly threatening, as it moves through the verses:

'We wish you a Merry Christmas'...
'Oh, bring us some figgy pudding' ...
'For we all like figgy pudding'...
'And we won't go until we get some!'.

Your cupboards had better not be bare with that rowdy bunch outside!

'Silent Night' is a carol which celebrates the peace of the season. Its lyrics were originally penned in German by a Austrian priest in the early 1800s. The story goes that the inaugural performance was even more peaceful than intended as the church organ broke, so it was performed with just a guitar accompaniment. The song was most literally a celebration of  peace in the First World War 1914 Christmas armistice, when English and German troops found a tune they could both sing together. 

Back to the Twelve days of Christmas, the carol is thought to have always been a children's parlour game, with the first to make a mistake in recounting each gift paying a forfeit. Some what simpler perhaps than puzzling out how many gifts were received at the end of the 12 days!

With 12 partridge, 22 turtle doves etc there's a total of 364 gifts received. The next puzzle is where to keep them all .... 

Shop the DM Bird Collection, including partridge, two turtles, calling birds and a range of Roosters ... 

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