On the fifth day of Christmas, my mod love gave to me, five golden rings: specifically the Time on My Hands Ring, Madame Bovary Ring, Brassy Dame Double Ring, Key to the City Ring, and Fawn’s Repose Ring.
Everyone hums this holiday tune today, but I’m sure you’ve spent many a night laying awake and pondering just when and how this jolly carol became popular. Some say it began in 18th century England as a memory and forfeit game similar to “We’re Going on a Picnic, in which players had to memorize all of the previous verses and contribute a new verse at the end. The catch was that if players forgot a verse, they would have to pay a forfeit, in the form of a kiss or candy.
There’s also an urban myth that it actually originated as a catechism song. Between 1558 and 1829, Catholicism was outlawed in England. The rumor is that the song was written as a way for young Catholics to learn the tenets of their religion in the form of a catchy, coded song. Historians, however, are reluctant to admit this, as there’s not much substantive evidence to prove its truth.