On the Eleventh Day of Christmas

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas - Eleven Pipers Piping

Dec 21, 2006 (updated 12/27/10)

At the big feasts held during the holiday celebrations the guests were often entertained by musicians, dancers, jugglers, etc. as well as singing and dancing themselves.

Bagpipes and their younger cousins the musette (an instrument similar to a bagpipe but the air for the sound came from bellows rather than blowing into the instrument) were popular instruments for dance music.

While we usually associate the bagpipe with Scotland, they were also a common instrument in France as well.

Since Queen Elizabeth I was succeeded by the Stuart kings of Scotland, bagpipes and other aspects of Scots culture were common among the upper classes in England as were elements of French culture due to intermarriage of the English and French nobility.

The pipers referred to in the song would be the professional bagpipe musicians hired to entertain the guests with their music and provide music for dancing.

During the Tudor and Stuart Periods Christmas was a festive time of year for the upper classes and elaborate parties with feasting, music and dancing were common among these classes.

Eleven Pipers A-Piping
Eleven Pipers A-Piping
A Partridge in a Pear Tree
A Partridge in a Pear Tree
Two Turtle Doves
Two Turtle Doves
Three French Hens
Three French Hens
Four Collie Birds
Four Collie Birds
Five Golden Rings
Five Golden Rings
Six Geese A-Laying
Six Geese A-Laying
Seven Swans
Seven Swans
Eight Maids A-Milking
Eight Maids A-Milking
Nine Ladies Dancing
Nine Ladies Dancing
Ten Lords A-Leaping
Ten Lords A-Leaping
Twelve Drummers Drumming
Twelve Drummers Drumming

Geographic Influences on The Twelve Days of Christmas Carol

show route and directions
A markerEngland -
England, United Kingdom
[get directions]

England where the carol The Twelve Days of Christmas originated.

B markerScotland -
Scotland, United Kingdom
[get directions]

Scotland, the home of King James VI of Scotland who also became King James I of England & Ireland upon the death of Queen Elizabeth I.

C markerFrance -
France
[get directions]

Despite their many wars throughout history, England and France shared many ties as evidenced by French influences on the 12 Days of Christmas carol.

© 2006 Chuck Nugent

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2 comments

justinskier profile image

justinskier 6 years ago

Awesome I love christ, and all the songs!


avelina c. basa 7 years ago

nice and good.educational for the children

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