No Christmas can go by without caroling the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. This song dates back to 1780 in England. However, fans of the song may be surprised to know that the song was first meant to be chanted and had no accompanying melody. The music didn’t appear on the scene until English composer Frederic Austin published it in 1909. Austin did one other modification to the song that has become popular ever since and that is the elongation of the phrase “Five golden rings”.
Perhaps it is the fast pace of the song that leads to misheard lyrics. One common mistake is with the verse “On the first day of Christmas, my tulip gave to me” as opposed to “On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me.” Other common mistakes or mondegreens as they are formally known are as follows: “On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me three French men” as opposed to “On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me three French hens.” Another mistake is the phrase “And a high pretty jingle bell tree” as opposed to “And a partridge in a pear tree”. It should be noted that there are variations to the song in Australia, Scotland, and the Faroe Islands.