28 Oct History of Christmas Caroling
Apart from the lights, decorations and all the other things we have during Christmas, singing and listening to carols draw us into the Christmas mood more than anything else. Carolling is a tradition that is passed from generation to generation. The first Christian carol is probably traced back to the 4th and 5th Century, but they were not associated with Christmas till the 13th Century. The concept of Christmas carols is to celebrate the birth of Christ and to spread the joy of Christmas. With the influence of Francis of Assisi, these hymns slowly started to develop.
When the Protestant churches gained prominence, the carols also gained popularity, and people like Martin Luther encouraged using hymns to praise and worship God. These carols were published as books and were given to people in the 19th Century, and this helped to widen the popularity of carols. Some of the hymns that were printed in the book were the First Noel, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, I Saw Three Ships, and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”. The book was called as Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (1833) by William Sandys. In the year 1877, another book was published and was named New and Old by Henry Ramsden Bramley and Sir John Stainer. Later, many books were published by Charles Lewis Hutchins, Oxford University Press, etc.
The following are some of the iconic Christmas Carols:
Silent Night is considered to be one of the most popular Christmas carols in the world. The song was composed by an Austrian priest named Joseph Mohr. He had composed Silent Night with his friend Franz Gruber on Christmas Eve despite the fact that their church organ was broken. But some people also believe that Silent Night was written in the church’s midnight mass in the Bavarian town of Oberndorf.
“The Twelve Days of Christmas”:
The “The Twelve Days of Christmas” had its roots in the 18th Century. Some believe that this song was a catechism song for Catholics to learn “the tenets of their faith,” as the people could not practice openly in the Anglican society between the years 1558 to 1829.
“Joy to the World”:
“Joy to the World” is yet another favorite Christmas carol and is sung in almost every part of the world. The lyrics of the song were taken from the Old Testament in the Bible and were published by Isaac Watts in the year 1719. It was Lowell Mason, an American composer who crafted the melody for the song during the 19th Century.
“O Come All Ye Faithful”:
John Francis Wade wrote the song in Latin, and he collaborated with a composer named John Reading to give the hymn a melody. The carol was published in the year 1751, and it became famous when Frederick Oakeley had translated the song from Latin to English.