Monday, December 14, 2015

$33,822: The Math of the 12 Days of Christmas, The Gift of People, And Why All The Birds??

That dollar amount, my friends, is the cost of buying every thing on the 12 days of Christmas song.

The song was probably written in French and had no music when it was first published in 1780.
In 1909, music was added and it became the song we are familiar with today.
  • "4 "Calling Birds" was originally 'Colly' birds, meaning coal colored, or blackbirds.
  • 5 gold rings originally meant 5 ring-necked pheasants. This makes the first seven gifts to be birds.
  • Aside from the maids a-milking, the rest of the gifts are people who dance or play an instrument. You could give people as gifts?? That's not right.
  • If you gave the total with repetition, you would be giving  364 gifts.
Because: Day 1- receives 1 gift
Day 2- receives 3 additional gifts, making 4 total
Day 3- receives 6 additional gifts, making 10 total
Day 4- receives 10 additional gifts, making 20 total
Day 5- receives 15 additional gifts, making 35 total
Day 6- receives 21 additional gifts, making 56 total
Day 7- receives 28 additional gifts, making 84 total
Day 8- receives 36 additional gifts, making 120 total
Day 9- receives 45 additional gifts, making 165 total
Day 10- receives 55 additional gifts, making 220 total
Day 11- receives 66 additional gifts, making 286 total
Day 12- receives 78 additional gifts, making 364 total gifts received.

Here is what these things cost today, one day at a time...
1 Partridge                $25             in a pear tree, $190.00
2 Turtle doves          $290
3 French Hens          $182.00
4. Calling Birds     (Canaries) $600
5 Gold Rings          at least $500 *if using pheasants, then only $28
6 Geese         $360
7 Swans         $13,125

**Wait, that's 28 birds of various types, or 33 if you count the 5 golden ringed pheasants....Why???**

8 Maids (working for an hour at minimum wage) $58
9 Lady dancers  (ballerinas at $75 per hour each, for an hour) $675
10 Lords who leap $5509 (apparently not as valuable as ballerinas)
11 Pipers piping   $2635 (even bagpipers charge about this much)
12 Drummers  $2855   (although if you're talking rock star drummer, it would probably be more)

And how much, with repeating as in the song (3 French hens, two turtledoves, and a partridge in a pear tree....)? That would run about $115,000. Good math practice, what total do you get?

The cost of these things in 1913, the earliest we could figure using an inflation calculator, was about $1450.00. The price of a 9 room house at that time was under $3,000.
Some people over-think. They feel that the song's gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith, and the "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. They hold that a partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The other symbols could mean the following: 
2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles

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