On the Eighth Day of Christmas
My true love gave to me, eight maids a milking …
The 12 days of Christmas begin on 25th December and end on the 5th (or 6th, depending on where it is celebrated) of January. According to tradition, this marked a period starting with the birth of the Christ child, and ended with the Epiphany, the coming of the Wise Men. In England during the Middle Ages, “this period was one of continuous feasting and merrymaking” according to Wikipedia. Therefore the references on days 1 to 7 to birds used in feasting make sense. This day probably refers to the “milk, cream, cheese, and butter that were essential ingredients in English cooking during the early modern period.” (according to https://unireadinghistory.com/2019/12/20/twelve-days-of-christmas-eight-maids-a-milking/).
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