Tag Archives: Twelfth Night

Twelve Days of Christmas New Zealand Style

Pohutukawa tree

I read and enjoyed this post from Judy at A Daily Thought.

Our friends at Wikipedia tell us

“In England in the Middle Ages, this period was one of continuous feasting and merrymaking, which climaxed on Twelfth Night, the traditional end of the Christmas season. In Tudor England, Twelfth Night itself was forever solidified in popular culture when William Shakespeare used it as the setting for one of his most famous stage plays, titled Twelfth Night. “

Then I thought I would share with those of you in other parts of the world the New Zealand version of Twelve Days of Christmas.  By the way did you know that traditionally the first day of Christmas was Christmas Day, so the twelfth would be January 6th the day in which all decorations were removed from the house?

On the first day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
A pukeko in a ponga tree



On the second day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Two kumera
And a pukeko in a ponga tree

On the third day of Christmas
and so on, until…

On the twelfth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Twelve piupius swinging
Eleven haka lessons
Ten juicy fish heads
Nine sacks of pipis
Eight plants of puha
Seven eels a swimming
Six pois a twirling
Five – big – fat – pigs!
Four huhu grubs
Three flax kits
Two kumera
And a pukeko in a ponga tree!
Eight plants of puha
Seven eels a swimming

pois dancing

Traditional pois dancing


Pukeko = type of bird found in NZ
Ponga Tree = a fern tree that grows in NZ
Kumera = a yellow sweet potato with a purple inside core
Piuspius = a skirt made from strips of flax. They look like hula skirts. They’re worn by the Maori (indigenous people of NZ) during certain dances and special celebrations.
Haka = war chant/dance
Pipis = small shellfish
Puha = a type of sow thistle that is eaten as a vegetable in NZ
Pois = Maori word for ball – they’re two balls on the end of two ropes and they’re twirled around making patterns during some Maori dances
Huhu = a small edible grub or beetle found in NZ.

This is a funny version of the 12 days – please watch and listen to it.

Here in New Zealand we have Boxing Day as a National Holiday.  Boxing Day is the day following Christmas Day, when traditionally, servants and tradesmen would receive gifts from their  employers; this was known as a “Christmas box”.  We also have the 2nd day of January as a holiday but of course, shops are only closed for Christmas Day and January 1st so many retail workers don’t enjoy these days off.

So there you have even more  useless information to store in your head.  But perhaps if you play Trivial Pursuit over the holiday period some of this may come in handy.

It just leaves me now to say to all of my friends out in the blogosphere may you have a Happy and Safe Christmas wherever you are celebrating it and a New Year filled with all that you wish for.

Happy Holidays