Keep Singing Those Christmas Carols During the Christmas Season

happy-new-year-sparkle 2015The history and origin of Christmas carols can be traced back thousands of years. The concept of carols is thought to have spread from Europe, where they were sung for the first time. However, these songs were not actually Christmas carols. In fact, they were considered Pagan songs, which were sung at the Winter Solstice celebration. These songs were sung in a lively and joyous manner for all four seasons and gradually came to be known as carols, meaning songs of praise and joy. This tradition of singing carols has continued through the ages.

Initially, many churches turned down the idea of singing Christmas carols, since it was considered a pagan custom that could not be included in the sacred church services. However, folk songs or carols depicting the Nativity Scene were written in the countryside. These simple songs soon gained popularity, and were passed on from person to person. Over the years, these carols caught the attention of the people.

In 1223, Saint Francis of Assisi built a life-size manger scene, complete with live animals such as ox, ass, and sheep. He would get various villagers to play the roles of the Holy Family and the shepherds and wise men. Then he would have people sing their songs about Christmas. This is also the origin of the crèche that so many of us have set up in our homes today.

The First Noel” is unknown in origin but is generally thought to be the oldest carol in the English language dating back to the sixteenth century.

Before the invention of the printing press, carols were a way to communicate the Christmas story and pass it from one generation to another. An example of this is “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” which was written for English Catholics to illustrate the truths of their faith during a time of persecution. One partridge in a pear tree – God’s gift of love to mankind: the advent of Jesus and His death on the cross. Two turtle doves – the Old and the New Testaments. Three French horns – the Christian virtues of faith, hope and charity, or the Holy Trinity. Four calling birds – the four Gospels. Five gold rings – the first five books of the Old Testament telling the story of man’s fall from grace. Six geese a laying – the six days of creation. Seven swans a-swimming – the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Eight maids a-milking – the eight Beatitudes. Nine ladies dancing – the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit. Ten lords a-leaping – the Ten Commandments. Eleven pipers piping – the eleven faithful disciples. Twelve drummers drumming – the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.

Even though the world around us has packed up Christmas for another year, we continue singing the carols of the Christmas Season through the Feast of the Baptisms of the Lord on January 11, 2015.

If you are in the area around Saint John Bosco Parish in Parma Heights – please accept this invitation to join us on Sunday, January 4 at 2:00 pm in the Church for an hour of Christmas Music with our Music Ministry and Choir, followed by a Christmas cookie social in the Bell Tower.

A Blessed and Happy New Year to all of you!  I invite you to join us at Saint John Bosco for Mass on New Year’s Eve at 4:00 pm or on New Year’s Morning at 11:00 am.

Question – Are you still listening to the songs of Christmas in your home? What is your favorite Christmas carol?

December 31st, 2014 |