How many presents are given out in total in the Christmas carol ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ ? – History, Politics & Society

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What people often do is they do the math for the 12th day and forget that that number should be added to the number of gifts on each of the other previous 11 days to get the total number of gifts. See math below.

DAY / GIFTS THAT DAY / TOTAL NUMBER OF GIFTS

Day 1 / 1 / 1
Day 2 / 2+1=3 / 4
Day 3 / 3+2+1=6 / 10
Day 4 / 4+3+2+1=10 / 20
Day 5 / 5+4+3+2+1=25 / 45
Day 6 / 6+5+4+3+2+1=31 / 76
Day 7 / 7+6+5+4+3+2+1=38 / 114
Day 8 / 8+7+6+5+4+3+2+1=46 / 160
Day 9 / 9+8+7+6+5+4+3+2+1=55 / 215
Day 10 / 10+9+8+7+6+5+4+3+2+1=65 / 280
Day 11 / 11+10+9+8+7+6+5+4+3+2+1=76 / 350
Day 12 / On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
Twelve drummers drumming, Eleven pipers piping, Ten lords a-leaping, Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree=88 / 438 total gifts

Answer

The above Answer (438) is not correct but the idea shown is.
11+10+9+8+7+6+5+4+3+2+1=66 not 76

The correct answer is 364. “A partridge in a pear tree” is given 12 times, “Two turtle doves” are given 11 times,… “Twelve drummers drumming” are given just once. The following lines keep track of the entire song.

1 presents are given 12 times for a total of 12 presents.
2 presents are given 11 times for a total of 22 presents.
3 presents are given 10 times for a total of 30 presents.
4 presents are given 9 times for a total of 36 presents.
5 presents are given 8 times for a total of 40 presents.
6 presents are given 7 times for a total of 42 presents.
7 presents are given 6 times for a total of 42 presents.
8 presents are given 5 times for a total of 40 presents.
9 presents are given 4 times for a total of 36 presents.
10 presents are given 3 times for a total of 30 presents.
11 presents are given 2 times for a total of 22 presents.
12 presents are given 1 times for a total of 12 presents.

Adding up all the presents I get: 364

Answer

OK, we’re probably all over thinking this a tick, but both answers are correct. There were 78 actual presents given:

12 Partridges
11 Pairs of Turtle Doves
10 Sets French Hens
9 Sets of Calling Birds
8 Sets of 5 Golden Rings
7 Sets of Geese a-Laying
6 Sets of Swans a-Swimming
5 Sets of Maids-a-Milking
4 Sets of Ladies Dancing
3 Sets of Lords-a-Leaping
2 Sets of Pipers Piping and finally
1 set of Drummers Drumming.

This issue is that each gift, regardless of the quantity of items that make up the gift is still just one gift.

However, the total quantity of ITEMS given is correctly 364 (spread out over 78 individual gifts).

In the end, it’s pretty much up to you as to which way you want to look at the question. If you are asked how many presents were given then the answer is 78. If you are asked how many ITEMS were given, the answer is 364.

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