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In the song The Twelve Days of Christmas, did the recipient receive a single partridge or did they receive one partridge each day for twelve days?

Here are the relevant 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.

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    Agreed: there is such a thing as overanalysing. – Rand al'Thor Apr 8 '17 at 12:56
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PNC Wealth Management, a US bank, calculates both the Christmas Price Index and the True Cost of Christmas each year, based on this song.

The former is based on the "shopping basket" on the twelfth day, containing everything from a single partridge in a pear tree up to twelve drumming drummers. The latter is based on the total cost of "the complete set of 364 items".

So there is at least one important interpretation of the song where the gifts each day are cumulative.

  • Can you provide some sources that say they do this and perhaps some links? And perhaps explain a bit more about why this should be interpreted this way, instead of just from one source? Thanks! – Mithical Apr 8 '17 at 20:37
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    I agree with Mith, this isn't an answer we should encourage on this site. It's not enough to say "here is a person who has interpreted this song this way", answers should explain why interpreting the song a certain way makes sense. Of course, the answer might be "the question isn't important and doesn't tell you anything about the song, and besides, there isn't enough detail to answer the question conclusively." – user111 Apr 8 '17 at 20:44
  • Fair enough, I'll expand this a bit, later. – SQB Apr 8 '17 at 20:48
  • How much later? :-) – Rand al'Thor Jun 21 '17 at 22:04
  • Ah yes, I got stuck on that. Thanks for reminding me; I did have another angle. – SQB Jun 22 '17 at 5:12

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