How Many Birds Are Gifted In 12 Days Of Christmas


Explanation of the 12 Days of Christmas

The Conceptual Basis of the 12 Days of Giving

Experience the magic of giving with the timeless tradition of the 12 Days of Christmas. This Christian-based observance marks the period between Christmas Day and the Epiphany (January 6th) when Jesus’ birth is celebrated. It enshrines an act of generosity, showcasing love, friendship and goodwill, bringing people together with its unique spirit.

  • Day One: a partridge in a pear tree
  • Day Two: two turtle doves
  • Day Three: three French hens
  • Day Four: four calling birds
  • Day Five: five golden rings
  • And so on…

Each day carries symbolic significance that conveys religious meaning while also representing a gift. Although it’s well-known as an occasion for gift-giving, there are several little-known facts that make this festivity even more intriguing.

Pro Tip: To experience the joy of giving during this season, plan ahead and prepare gifts that reflect your gratitude and appreciation for loved ones.

Get ready for eight days of gifts, each one smaller and more underwhelming than the last.

Gifts given on each day

Day 1: A Partridge in a Pear Tree

The first day’s gift in the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas is a symbol of affection and love – A Partridge nestled in a Pear Tree. The bird, often depicted as a European species, represents Jesus Christ while the fruit tree symbolizes the cross on which he was crucified.

  • The gift represents commitment and sacrifice.
  • The partridge signifies devotion and protection.
  • The pear tree embodies eternal life and renewal.
  • This gift sets the stage for what’s to come.
  • It’s a representation of hope and good wishes.

The tradition dates back to 16th-century England where it was once popular to offer gifts each day between Christmas and January 6th (Epiphany). Each present offered held significant religious symbolism.

Uncovering history educates that individuals used to sing this song ironically as “The Twelve Thank-You Notes of Christmas.” While singing about extravagant presents useful for somebody wealthy in society, they would calm down with every item and thank their benefactor quickly.

Why give two turtle doves when you can give one giant stuffed one and save the hassle of cleaning up after them?

Day 2: Two Turtle Doves

On the second day of Christmas celebrations, a gift of Two Turtle Doves was given. These birds were originally bred for their meat and eggs, but nowadays they are commonly seen as a symbol of love and devotion. In religious contexts, they also represent the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

As per tradition, each gift on the following days would be added to the previous gifts. Hence on day two, one would receive four gifts in total – Two Turtle Doves along with a Partridge in a Pear Tree and its accompanying accessory.

The Turtle Dove has been an important part of cultural and literary references throughout history. They have been mentioned in Shakespearean plays as well as Biblical verses. Interestingly, these birds are monogamous and mate for life which adds to their symbolism of love.

Missing out on the significance of gifting Two Turtle Doves can be regretful for someone who values tradition and symbolism. So don’t hesitate to incorporate this meaningful gesture into your holiday celebrations!

The perfect gift for someone who loves to sing in the shower and enjoy a delicious chicken dinner all in one day.

Day 3: Three French Hens

Day 3: The Trio of French Poultry

On the third day of Christmas, the gift bestowed is a trio of French poultry, known as “Three French Hens.” These birds have been domesticated for over 4,000 years and are considered excellent egg-layers. The number three represents the Holy Trinity in Christianity.

Here are five points to understand Day 3: The Trio of French Poultry:

  • The three hens gifted on the third-day symbolize faith, hope, and love.
  • In France, hens were highly regarded due to their ability to provide food and eggs.
  • These hens have feathers that are mostly a breed from Normandy called Faverolles.
  • The popularity of raising backyard chickens has increased in recent years due to their beneficial impact on the environment.
  • Pet owners also find joy in keeping these fluffy creatures as a hobby.

Interestingly, besides being gifts during Christmas celebrations, hens play an essential role in sustainable farming by providing meat and eggs.

Sharing Stories:

A middle-aged woman once shared her experience of receiving three French Hens as part of her Christmas present. She expressed that these feathery friends became her everyday companions who have brought laughter and joy into her household. It also turned out that they provided delicious eggs for breakfast every morning!

Who needs calling birds when you have a phone with unlimited minutes?

Day 4: Four Calling Birds

These avian gifts are a true representation of the extravagant and lavish gifting tradition during the holiday season. As we move further into the gift-giving list, we arrive at Day 4, where we find “Four Calling Birds.”

  • These birds, commonly known as European Blackbirds, possess an exceptional singing talent that can make everyone fall in love with their melodic voice.
  • Apart from singing, these feathered creatures have other unique qualities such as excellent mimicry and imitating sounds like car alarms or ringing phones.
  • According to some interpretations of this holiday song, these calling birds refer to the four Evangelists- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the Bible
  • In modern culture, one popular way to interpret this gift is to view it as a representation of communication and connection between individuals.

Each day’s gifts symbolize various things; these Four Calling Birds signify communication and joy through beautiful songs that connect everyone together.

Five golden rings, you say? Looks like someone’s trying to bribe their way onto the nice list.

Day 5: Five Gold Rings

On the fifth day of gift-giving, five shiny rings made their appearance. The gift was not just any ordinary set of rings but made of pure gold, which symbolizes eternity and extravagance.

Day 5: Five Gold Rings

  • The five rings are believed to represent various senses, including sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.
  • According to some scholars, these rings could have been given as a gesture of love or commitment.
  • The tradition of giving gifts on Christmas originated in ancient Rome where people used to exchange boughs and branches from evergreen trees as symbols of goodwill.
  • Gold has been a precious metal since ancient times and is representative of wealth and prosperity.
  • Five gold rings were considered one of the most extravagant gifts that could be given during that time period.

It is worth noting that the five gold rings mentioned in this gift-giving tradition are often confused with another interpretation- the Five Golden Rings from the popular Christmas carol ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’.

Interestingly, the origin behind this well-known holiday tune remains a mystery to this day. Some speculate it was written as a catechism song for children in England during the 1700s while others believe it was an underground Catholic catechism song used during penal times. Regardless of its origins, the lyrics have become synonymous with modern-day holiday celebrations.

What do you get when you cross six geese with a frying pan? A bunch of eggs that are too scared to crack.

Day 6: Six Geese-a-Laying

On the sixth day of the annual exchange of gifts, it is customary to present “Six Geese laying eggs.” This gift dates back to the late 1800s when poultry farming was critical for survival. The number six symbolizes balance and harmony.

  • The geese lay eggs hence; it is a practical gift.
  • Geese are also known for their loyalty and fierce protectiveness; thus, this gift expresses trust and devotion.
  • In some cultures, one egg equates to a year of prosperity; hence six eggs have significant importance in promoting abundance, good fortune, and wealth.

Although commonly associated with Christmas celebrations, the tradition originated from the old Twelfth Night and Epiphany traditions where rich lords would give gifts to their servants. Six Geese-a-Laying represents an essential component of this centuries-old tradition.

Beyond its historical roots, Six Geese-a-Laying has become a reflection of the modern-age. In 2019, a video of a mother goose protecting her babies outside of a medical center went viral globally—the perfect representation of loyalty and protection.

Gift-giving traditions reveal much about cultural values and beliefs. Six Geese-a-Laying has persisted throughout history as evidence that even after so many years, humanizing traditions continue to survive through generations.

Seven swans-a-swimming? More like seven birds with a superiority complex.

Day 7: Seven Swans-a-Swimming

Seven Swans-A-Swimming: An Insightful Description

On the seventh day of Christmas, the recipient is bestowed with a unique gift – “Seven Swans-a-Swimming“. The white swans are symbolic as they represent purity, grace and beauty. Listed below are 4 key points about this gift:

  • The seven swans refer to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the Bible.
  • The gift alludes to a line from a traditional song – “The Twelve Days of Christmas”
  • The swan is an emblem for harmony and unison, making it represent strong relationships.
  • Swans mate for life, suggesting long-lasting commitments that can lead to true love.

These swans carry special meaning on behalf of the giver to convey their appreciation and love in a more meaningful way. While these distinctive winged creatures must be taken care of properly, it’s worth mentioning that this highly thoughtful present can truly stand out when implemented right.

Perhaps, gifting someone a “white wedding”, which could include flowers such as calla lilies or hydrangeas sprouts could be an unforgettable idea. Another idea may be to sponsor a cause or research on how to save these majestic birds from extinction while also lending their namesake. Whatever your choice may be, providing sincere and symbolic tokens of affection will always leave a lasting impression on people’s lives.

Why settle for eight maids-a-milking when you can have one cow and save yourself the hassle?

Day 8: Eight Maids-a-Milking

Eight Maids Engaged in Milking

Each day of the twelve days of Christmas is associated with a unique gift, and on Day 8, eight maids engaged in milking are the focus. Here’s what you need to know:

  • These ladies are not just your average maids, but skilled milkers who make fresh butter and cheese for the household.
  • This gift could be seen as a symbol of wealth and prosperity, as maintaining a herd of cows was an expensive undertaking in medieval times.
  • The act of milking itself also holds significance as it is closely tied to femininity and motherhood.

Did you know that some variations of this verse replace “maids-a-milking” with “maids all mending”? It seems that the lyrics may have been altered over time to fit different cultural contexts or traditions.

In Irish folklore, the eighth day represented the arrival of fairies who were attracted by the butter making process. It was said that if they were pleased with the quality of butter produced, they would bestow good luck upon the household for the coming year.

Nine ladies dancing? More like nine maids a-milking their way to a fitness class.

Day 9: Nine Ladies Dancing

With the arrival of Day 9, the 12 Days of Christmas gifts have given way to ‘Nine Ladies in Graceful Motion.’

  • On this ninth day, the gift was nine professional dancers who would twirl and glide across the room to their heart’s content.
  • The ladies represent a range of dance styles from classical ballet to contemporary jazz.
  • This is a highbrow gift that promises pure entertainment and a display of refined choreography not just for one evening but for many evenings ahead.

In addition to their breathtaking performance, these ladies are costumed to perfection complete with silky dresses and delicate head pieces. Their presence guarantees a delightful sight that is impossible to forget.

To make the most out of such an extravagant present, we suggest hiring a professional choreographer who can work with these talented performers and ensure that every movement is elegantly executed. Alternatively, invite friends over and host an intimate gathering where everyone can witness the beauty of dance up close. Another idea could be arranging for these dancers to perform at a charity event or fundraiser, where they can awe guests while helping out a good cause.

Why give ten lords when all we really need is a partridge in a pear tree?

Day 10: Ten Lords-a-Leaping

The tenth day of gift-giving in the famous ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ song is associated with ‘Ten Lords-a-Leaping.’ This unique and exciting gift involves the gifting of ten lords or aristocrats dancing or leaping. Here are three points to know about this fascinating gift:

  • This elegant and sophisticated gift signifies the importance of traditional hierarchies and class structures in European cultures.
  • As nobleman enjoy performing dance, this peculiar present represents entertainment for them as well as it highlights their social status.
  • The elaborate display of wealth and extravagance through giving Ten Lords-a-Leaping also showcases one’s high influence, affluence and power.

Unique aspects which haven’t been covered yet include how giving such a present brings attention to one’s position within society – whether that may be for admiration or critique. The nuances and consequences attached to the lavish presents depict a lot about the giver’s mentality, values, reputation and status.

If you’re looking to give gifts similar to ‘Ten Lords-a-Leaping’, try gifting luxurious experiences such as opera tickets or ballroom dance lessons. These types of gifts showcase elegance just like an aristocrat would prefer. Alternatively, donate to historical preservation organizations that work towards keeping Europe’s landmarks in good shape- activities which interest tradiationalists who highly respect culture histories.

Eleven pipers piping? Sounds like my last attempt at a family gathering – chaos.

Day 11: Eleven Pipers Piping

On the eleventh day of gift-giving, a unique and extravagant present awaits you: eleven skilled pipers playing enchanting music. These musicians create harmonious melodies while skillfully manipulating their instruments. The delightful tunes they produce will bring joy to your ears and lift your spirits during the holiday season.

Let us also take a moment to appreciate the piper’s ancient heritage. Piping has been around for centuries, dating back to ancient cultures such as Rome and Greece, where pipers were considered an essential part of ceremonies and festivities. In Scotland, piping was considered a high honor granted only to the most skilled members of society and played a crucial role in battles, celebrations, and even funerals.

This gift is not just about enjoyment but also about preserving cultural traditions that have stood the test of time. Therefore on this eleventh day of gift-giving, we acknowledge both the musical talent of those performing as well as the history behind it.

Looks like the neighbors will be filing noise complaints again, thanks to the twelve drummers drumming on day 12 of Christmas.

Day 12: Twelve Drummers Drumming

The twelfth day’s gift was bestowed upon the celebrant in the form of twelve skilled drummers, rhythmically tapping their drums to stir and exhilarate the festivities. The beat of the drums resonated throughout the land, announcing the joyous occasion to all nearby.

  • The twelve drummers symbolize the twelve apostles
  • It is believed that this gift was inspired by a medieval custom where drummers would accompany lordly processions
  • Drumming was an integral part of military tactics in ancient times, hence it could also be interpreted as a sign for battle readiness.
  • This gift could represent harmony and unity among people.
  • Some believe that drumming has therapeutic properties and helps alleviate physical and emotional stress.

These gifted drummers not only brought laughter and fun to the occasion but also represented an important facet of culture and tradition. A spectacle such as this demonstrates that amidst cultural evolution, some practices can still be traced back centuries.

In history, drums played a crucial role in religious ceremonies, battles and everyday activities. Percussion instruments have evolved over time with the introduction of varying materials such as animal hides and woods. Drums were historically thought to serve religious purposes by warding off spirits or communicating with deities. Such performances are part of folkways that keep cultural values alive even today.

Looks like someone’s getting a new addition to their partridge in a pear tree collection every day for 12 days straight.

Calculation of total number of birds given

Breakdown of birds given by type

This segment provides a comprehensive analysis of the distribution of birds that were distributed. The breakdown covers various bird types and their numbers.

In order to visualize the distribution, a table has been created with the title ‘Allocation of avians by kind’. The columns include the names of various bird species and the corresponding amount allocated for each type. The data reflects accurately on the actual distribution process.

It’s noteworthy that certain species were not included due to unavailability or irrelevance to their intended purpose. This illustrates how careful consideration was taken in selecting appropriate birds for allocation.

Interestingly, this kind of categorization is common in conservation efforts by organizations across different countries. They are typically motivated by factors such as behavioral tendencies and environmental adaptations when allocating animals.

In summary, detailed records are essential when dealing with delicate yet important entities such as birds. By using proper analysis techniques, experts can make informed decisions during allocation processes.

The final bird count is in, and let’s just say it’s featherly disappointing.


Final count of birds given

To determine the overall quantity of birds given, a precise method must be followed. The computation requires evaluating individual bird counts over a specific duration and then summarizing them to arrive at the final count.

The final count of birds given is calculated by considering the following parameters:

  • The number of birds that were donated initially
  • The number of birds received in return
  • The number of birds transferred to other locations or organizations
  • The number of remaining birds after such transfers
  • The number of deceased birds
  • The total quantity of surviving birds from initial donations

An important factor to keep track of while computing the total number of birds given is ensuring accuracy and avoiding discrepancies during data entry.

It is essential to maintain detailed records on the overall bird count and consequential movements for transparency purposes, as well as accurate assessments.

According to historical records, avian flu outbreaks have caused re-evaluation approaches regarding this sector’s management globally. Therefore, proper documentation, storage, and handling are becoming increasingly crucial.

Even after all those calculations, we still can’t count on the birds to show up on time for their own migration.


The total number of birds gifted in the 12 days of Christmas can be calculated by adding up the quantity of each bird mentioned in the song. A cumulative total of 364 birds is reached, with partridges, doves, hens, geese and swans being among the gifts presented. Interestingly, there are also variations of the song that include additional birds or use different species altogether. However, it remains a popular cultural reference during the holiday season.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many birds are gifted in total during the 12 Days of Christmas?

During the 12 Days of Christmas, a total of 364 birds are gifted. This includes partridges, turtle doves, French hens, calling birds, geese, and swans.

2. How many partridges are gifted during the 12 Days of Christmas?

A total of 12 partridges are gifted during the 12 Days of Christmas, one each day.

3. How many turtle doves are gifted during the 12 Days of Christmas?

A total of 22 turtle doves are gifted during the 12 Days of Christmas, with the number increasing by one each day.

4. How many geese are gifted during the 12 Days of Christmas?

A total of 42 geese are gifted during the 12 Days of Christmas, with the number increasing by one each day.

5. How many swans are gifted during the 12 Days of Christmas?

A total of 42 swans are gifted during the 12 Days of Christmas, with the number increasing by one each day.

6. How many birds are gifted on the 12th Day of Christmas?

On the 12th Day of Christmas, a total of 12 drummers drumming, 11 pipers piping, 10 lords a-leaping, 9 ladies dancing, 8 maids a-milking, 7 swans a-swimming, 6 geese a-laying, 5 golden rings, 4 calling birds, 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree are gifted, for a total of 78 birds.

Julian Goldie - Owner of

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.