|European goldfinch, photo by By Pierre Dalous - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,|
One party we missed this year was at my mom's former coworker Barbara's house. A highlight of Barbara's party is the caroling--she has a pianist and plenty of Christmas lyrics booklets for all the guests, and we sing all the classics. There is one rule--Barbara is the only one to sing the "five...golden...rings" line for "The Twelve Days of Christmas.
I always thought this a strange lyric, as the true love seemed to offer up only measly birds until the 5 gold rings, but according to Mental Floss "12 Things You Might Not Know About "The Twelve Days of Christmas" it is just likely refers to even more birds lol:
5. AND "5 GOLDEN RINGS" PROBABLY DON'T REFER TO WHAT YOU THINK THEY REFER TO.
There’s pretty good evidence suggesting "five golden rings" is actually a reference to the yellowish rings around a pheasant’s neck or to “goldspinks,” an old name for a pretty little bird called the Goldfinch—not to the hand jewelry. And that actually makes sense, considering every other lyric in the first seven days of the song references a bird: a partridge, turtle doves, French hens (or “fat ducks,” depending on the version), calling birds (or black birds), swans and geese.
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