Christmas is the best occasion to gather around with your loving friends and family and also the best time to listen to Christmas carols – a common type of traditional music often played in winter, especially during Christmas time. In fact, not many people know about this type of music since it has been performed since a very long time ago. However, if you want to know more about carols, this is the answer for you!
In this article, I will introduce some basic information about carols and how is it associated with Christmas as well as today carols. Please take a cup of coffee and read this article to see all of Christmas carols – the songs we all-time each time Christmas comes to town.
Why Is It Called “Carol”?
Many people don’t know why this type of song is called “carol” since the meaning of this word is from another language. The word “carol” was originally created from French and Anglo – Norman language. It was first used to describe a song or a dance of praise and joy. It means this type of song was determined to bring the happiness and peaceful atmosphere to the festivals or some certain occasions. People often sang along these songs.
Before carols were associated with Christmas, people sing them to celebrate all four seasons. However, since the flow of time came, this tradition was changed into the particular one for winter with the same period as today’s Christmas celebration.
Christmas Carols in English
English Christmas carols were sung a long time ago by groups of “wassailers” which is formed by people to sing carols from house to house. In 1426, these songs were first mentioned with a list of more than 25 English carols in a publication. The author was John Awdlay who was a chaplain in Shropshire.
No one knows exactly when the first English Christmas carol was written, but it was believed to be written sometime in 1410. The song is about Jesus and Mary and some events between them and other people in Bethlehem. The lyrics concentrate on describing the feeling and the interactions.
The tradition continued to last until 1647 when the Puritans came to England and changed the religions. That’s the time when Christmas, as well as carol singing, were forbidden. However, there were still many people continued to sing and celebrate the occasion in secret despite the laws. A long period of time later, carol singing was allowed until today as we know.
Public Carol Singing
Nowadays, people have brought carol singing to public places so that everyone can enjoy these songs easily without having to go to the churches. Carols are sung by people who are officially designated. They are called “Waits”. Carols singers or “Waits” group up together under the guidance of a lead vocal. He or she is the local leader of the town or the local church. People call them “waits” because they only sing on Christmas Eve. You can’t see them singing carols anytime else during the year except on this occasion. Apart from the name Christmas Eve, many people don’t know that this event was also known as “watch night” or “wait night”. That’s the reason why carol singers are called “waits”.
During the Victorian era, there was a trend from many orchestras and choirs in England. They sang everywhere in this country to satisfy the demand of people who wanted to sing Christmas songs on these occasions. Once again, carols appeared to be the best songs to learn and sing for the winter festival.
Along with public carol singings, related services are created and speared as well. Nowadays, the Christmas traditions can’t be considered fully listed if public carols are not on the list.
There are so many carol services all over the world, but the most famous one is the service of Nine Lessons and Carols at King’s College in Cambridge, UK. Many people know it because this service is held on Christmas Eve and broadcasted live by BBC Radio worldwide.
The carol service always starts with the song that is loved by most people “Once in Royal David’s City”. It is considered the best beginning song for the carol service and becomes a tradition. The first performance of the carol service was in 1918 as the celebration for the end of the WWI.
Christmas Carols and What to Know?
Do you know the best-loved carol of all time? If you are a big fan of this traditional type of music, I’m sure that you’ve heard the “White Christmas” song every year. The song written by Irving Berlin is estimated to have sold a huge number of copies all over the world which is more than 350 million and more.
Christmas carol is so loved because of several reasons. First of all, people who listen to carols can see the music very unique and beautiful. It is because of the medieval chord patterns on most of the songs. The second reason is about the lyrics of the carols. They are unforgettable and make us recall the best and warmest memories inside us. That’s the reason why people often look for Christmas carols to listen to in cold and silent night of Christmas Eve.
People love Christmas carols. In fact, there are some famous ones that you should listen to since the lyrics and the music are extraordinary and loved very much. You can look for some names such as Silent Night, Hark The Herald Angles Sing, Joy To The World, O Little Town of Bethlehem, The First Noel, White Christmas…
In general, we can see that Christmas carols have become one of the most important parts in every Christmas. It brings the joy and warm atmosphere to the occasion as well as become a typical music theme for people to know as a signal of Christmas. If you want to know more about Christmas carols, look for some carol albums to listen to and sing along. That’s the best way to feel the Christmas spirit in you.