Did you know that Christmas Carols were first sung in Europe thousands of years ago? Early Christian songs were actually hymns, not the carols we know today. They were sung in churches in Latin. Since Latin was a difficult language, people did not understand these hymns very well. It is said that by 12th century, people slowly started losing interest in celebrating Christmas.
But things began to change in the 13th century, when St. Francis of Assisi started a tradition of singing Christmas songs in the native language during Christmas plays. People could understand the songs, participate in singing and enjoy. Soon, the new carols singing tradition spread to France, Spain, Germany and other European countries. Christmas became popular again!
The word carol comes from the French word “carole” or the Latin word “carula,” meaning a circular dance.
Christmas carols are sung around the world. In Austria, Belgium and Germany, children dress up as “The Three Kings”. They carry a star on a pole and go from house to house singing religious songs and Christmas carols.
In Australia and New Zealand, where it is middle of summers in Christmas there is a tradition of singing ‘carols by candlelight’. The event is like a concert and involves people gathering in huge numbers usually outdoors, to sing carols by candlelight.
Some of the more popular Christmas songs have an interesting history!
Did you know that “Jingle Bells ” was created in Boston in 1857 by a man coming up with songs for a Thanksgiving program at his church? James Pierpont’s song became an instant hit at the church, and soon was discovered by the rest of the country.
“Silent Night” was originally a poem written by an Austrian pastor named Joseph Mohr. The Austrian pastor continued his work at the church until two years later, when the organ in the church broke just before the Christmas Mass and Mohr turned his attention back to that poem. Mohr then called on the church organist, a friend, to help him compose a melody that was arranged for a choir and guitar. By the midnight service, there was music – the first performance of Silent Night. Today, there is no Christmas carol that has been performed and recorded more than Silent Night.
“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” was a children’s book created by Robert L. May, in 1939. He worked for the Montgomery Ward department store in Chicago. The story became very popular and sold 2 million copies in just a couple of years. Then, in 1949, May’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, created a song to go with the story. The song was a huge international hit and a movie based on Rudolph also was a big seller when it was released in 1964. Marks also wrote several other Christmas songs that went on to become classics such as “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
These days, Christmas carols are still sung and listened to on the radio, in grocery and department stores, in churches and living rooms throughout the world.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from the staff at the Kids Doctor!
Story sources: http://kinooze.com/all-about-christmas-carols/