Culture

Joy to the world! Tis the time for carol
Why are carols sung during Christmas? Here's a look at the Carol traditions dating as far back as 9th-10th centuries.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated on 23 Dec 2020, 5:23 pm

(Representational Image: Unsplash)

(Representational Image: Unsplash)

Christmas is here and it’s time for carol. But Christmas celebration this time would be low key due to the COVID pandemic. In the new normal, many churches across the world are giving public celebration of Christmas and carol singing amiss, but the spirit of the season is alive in the hearts and minds of not only Christians but people the world over. The sound of carols is in the air. But why are carols sung during Christmas? When did traditional Carol singing begin? Do you know that the first known Christmas hymns may be traced to 4th-century Rome?

Originally, carols were reportedly written and sung during all four seasons by the natives, but only the tradition of singing them at Christmas survived.

According to history, in the 9th and 10th centuries, the Christmas "Sequence" or "Prose" was introduced in Northern European monasteries, which later developed into a sequence of rhymed stanzas under Bernard of Clairvaux. In the 12th century the Parisian monk Adam of Saint Victor derived music from popular songs, introducing something closer to the traditional Christmas carol. The 13th century witnessed the emergence of traditional Christmas songs in regional native languages in France, Germany, and particularly, Italy, under the influence of Francis of Assisi.

Christmas carols in English, however, first appeared in a 1426 work of John Awdlay, a Shropshire chaplain. John listed 25 "caroles of Cristemas", probably sung by groups of 'wassailers', who went from house to house. Carol singing from house to house is practised to this day in several parts of the world.

Many traditional Christmas carols herald the celebration of the birth of Jesus by the Christians. Some of the old popular Christmas Carols are-

Deck the Halls: This is a winter carol by Nos Galan which later became a popular Christmas carol. The English version of this fun-filled Christmas carol is written by Scottish musician Thomas Oliphant in 1862 with a traditional Welsh tune - lively, festive, and full of light.

We Wish You a Merry Christmas: There’s something about “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” that perfectly captures the dizzy excitement and abundant goodwill of the holidays. The song has the most triumphant and energetic melody of any carol composed by Arthur Warrell.

Jingle Bells: Did you know that “Jingle Bells” was originally written as a song for Thanksgiving? Somewhere down the way, it became a Christmas carol: “Jingle Bells” is upbeat, fun, and instantly recognizable. It’s one of the most popular songs ever composed by James Lord Pierpont. It was the first Christmas song broadcast from space.

Angels We Have Heard On High: The carol was written in 1862. And composed by James Chandwick. This Christmas carol evokes all the beauty of winter weather.

Joy to the World: The song is based on Psalm 98:4 and written in 1719. The text of this popular carol of all time is given by Isaac Watts and the music composed by Georg Friedrich Handel.

O Holy Night: This old Christmas hymn was written in France to celebrate the renovation of a local church organ. The carol was composed in 1857 by Adolphe Adam.

First published:23 Dec 2020, 4:38 pm

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IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

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