The Mystery Of The Christmas Carol

Fun fact: The word Carol actually means dance or a song of praise and joy.

Today in church the nursery children from our local school all gathered together during mass to sing some Christmas songs for the congregation. They were undoubtedly cute and all sang their little hearts out. It got me thinking however, why don’t we sing carols as feverently as we used to?

Carols were believed to have been first sung in Europe thousands of years ago. According to some sites, they were not even carols at all to begin with. They were pagan songs sung round stone circles (possibly linking to Stonehenge) and sang through all four of the seasons although, through the ages, the tradition only survived through to the Winter season around Christmas time (usually starting December 22nd) after being taken over by Christians.

It is not clear when “Carols,” as they were later named, were first written but it is thought that the most popular time for carol singing dates from the 1350’s to the 1550’s. The location is unknown. They underwent many transformations from religious hymns, to artistic music, and even ties in to our modern music now. The popularity of this genre of music started to fade by the 16th century until it was rediscovered and made known throughout the world again towards the middle of the 18th century. This was also the last time traditional carols were written.

Carols are as classic as telling scary stories by the fire on Christmas Eve, or waiting for Santa to drop down the chimney and it’s these small moments we need to keep alive to help keep the magic of Christmas flowing through the generations. Let us not forget the famous phrase from the classic Christmas film- Elf: The quickest way to spread Christmas cheer, is by singing aloud for all to hear.

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