The Twelve Days of Christmas - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

The Tweleve Days of Christmas is an English Christmas Carol that probably has its origins in a French New Years' or spring carol.  The words were first published in England in 1780.  There is a theory that the carol was intended to teach young English catholics their catechism (see this article for details).  However, whilst an imaginative idea, their seems to be no historical evidence for this.

When you play the Twelve Days of Christmas, listen out for the A7 chord in the 'Five Golden Rings' line - it makes the song.

Chords

G                              Em
On the first day of Christmas

      D              D7         G
My true love sent to me:

    G   C         G     D7   G
A partridge in a pear tree.




G                                   Em
On the second day of Christmas

      D              D7         G
My true love sent to me:

D                 D7
Two turtle doves,

           G   C         G     D7    G
And a partridge in a pear tree.




G                                Em
On the third day of Christmas

      D              D7         G
My true love sent to me:

D                     D7
Three French Hens,

D                 D7
Two turtle doves,

           G   C         G     D7    G
And a partridge in a pear tree.




G                                  Em
On the fourth day of Christmas

      D              D7         G
My true love sent to me:

D                   D7
Four calling birds,

D                     D7
Three French Hens,

D                 D7
Two turtle doves,

           G   C         G     D7    G
And a partridge in a pear tree.




G                               Em
On the fifth day of Christmas

      D              D7         G
My true love sent to me:

G      A7        D7
Five Golden Rings

D                   G
Four calling birds,

C
Three French Hens,

D      D7
Two turtle doves,

           G   C         G     D7    G
And a partridge in a pear tree.




G                                Em
On the sixth day of Christmas

      D              D7         G
My true love sent to me:

D                  D7
Six geese a-laying,

G      A7        D7
Five Golden Rings

D                   G
Four calling birds,

C
Three French Hens,

D      D7
Two turtle doves,

           G   C         G     D7    G
And a partridge in a pear tree.





G                                     Em
On the seventh day of Christmas

      D              D7         G
My true love sent to me:

D                        D7
Seven swans a-swimming,

D                  D7

Six geese a-laying,

G      A7        D7
Five Golden Rings

D                   G
Four calling birds,

C
Three French Hens,

D      D7
Two turtle doves,

           G   C         G     D7    G
And a partridge in a pear tree.






G                                   Em
On the eighth day of Christmas

      D              D7         G
My true love sent to me:

D                       D7
Eight maids a-milking,

D                        D7

Seven swans a-swimming,

D                  D7

Six geese a-laying,

G      A7        D7
Five Golden Rings

D                   G
Four calling birds,

C
Three French Hens,

D      D7
Two turtle doves,

           G   C         G     D7    G
And a partridge in a pear tree.





G                                 Em
On the ninth day of Christmas

      D              D7         G
My true love sent to me:

D                  D7
Nine ladies dancing,

D                       D7
Eight maids a-milking,

D                        D7

Seven swans a-swimming,

D                  D7

Six geese a-laying,

G      A7        D7
Five Golden Rings

D                   G
Four calling birds,

C
Three French Hens,

D      D7
Two turtle doves,

           G   C         G     D7    G
And a partridge in a pear tree.





G                                 Em
On the tenth day of Christmas

      D              D7         G
My true love sent to me:

D                  D7
Ten lords a-leaping,

D                  D7
Nine ladies dancing,

D                       D7
Eight maids a-milking,

D                        D7

Seven swans a-swimming,

D                  D7

Six geese a-laying,

G      A7        D7
Five Golden Rings

D                   G
Four calling birds,

C
Three French Hens,

D      D7
Two turtle doves,

           G   C         G     D7    G
And a partridge in a pear tree.





G                                      Em
On the eleventh day of Christmas

      D              D7         G
My true love sent to me:

D                      D7
Eleven pipers piping,

D                  D7

Ten lords a-leaping,

D                  D7
Nine ladies dancing,

D                       D7
Eight maids a-milking,

D                        D7

Seven swans a-swimming,

D                  D7

Six geese a-laying,

G      A7        D7
Five Golden Rings

D                   G
Four calling birds,

C
Three French Hens,

D      D7
Two turtle doves,

           G   C         G     D7    G
And a partridge in a pear tree.





G                                   Em
On the twelth day of Christmas

      D              D7         G
My true love sent to me:

D                              D7
Twelve drummers drumming,

D                      D7
Eleven pipers piping,

D                  D7

Ten lords a-leaping,

D                  D7
Nine ladies dancing,

D                       D7
Eight maids a-milking,

D                        D7

Seven swans a-swimming,

D                  D7

Six geese a-laying,

G      A7        D7
Five Golden Rings

D                   G
Four calling birds,

C
Three French Hens,

D      D7
Two turtle doves,

           G   C         G     D7    G
And a partridge in a pear tree.

Lyrics

On the first day of Christmas
My true love sent to me:
A partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of Christmas
My true love sent to me:
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the third day of Christmas
My true love sent to me:
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas
My true love sent to me:
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas
My true love sent to me:
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas
My true love sent to me:
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas
My true love sent to me:
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas
My true love sent to me:
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas
My true love sent to me:
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas
My true love sent to me:
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas
My true love sent to me:
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas
My true love sent to me:
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

Other Christmas Carols