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Christmas Carols

Christmas carols are songs whose lyrics are about Christmas or the winter season in general. A popular western tradition involves children going from house to house singing Christmas carols at each one, and they are usually rewarded with mince pies or an appropriate drink. Most carols also seem to have a bit of a history weaved about them. For instance ‘I saw three ships’ was written by wandering minstrels as they traveled through the country.
The carol, The Three Ships has undergone quiet a bit of change in content, text and symbolization. The original carol depicted the three ships as the ones which are taking the skulls of The Three Wise men to Cologne Cathedral in Germany. At other times, there have been different biblical characters on the ships. The most common lyrics used today are about Mary and Jesus traveling to Bethlehem.

History of Christmas Carols

Christmas Carols date back to the 13th century when a Roman Bishop announced that a song called ‘Angel’s Hymn’ would be sung at a Christmas service in Rome. Saint Francis of Assisi is largely responsible for popularizing Carols. In 1232, he started his nativity plays in Italy where people would tell a biblical story by singing songs. Over the years many carols were written and sung in Europe. However, they were not referred to as carols, a term which was applied only later.

Legend has it that the name ‘Carol' was adopted in 1888. That is when these beautiful hymns were christened Christmas Carols. A young girl named Carol Poles went missing in London in 1888. The whole city went out looking for her as it was almost Christmas. They knocked on every door but she could not be found.It was during this time that ‘Jack The Ripper' was creating havoc in the White chapel area. Because of the fear, people would refuse to open their door to strangers, the people of the town therefore started singing Christmas songs so that people would know that they weren't killers but in fact a search party. Sadly, Carol could never be found but in her memory the Londoners decided to name the Christmas songs Christmas Carols.

Christmas Carol Tradition
In England and some other countries there’s a tradition of Christmas caroling where a group of singers travel from house to house singing carols in lieu of money. Money collected in this manner is donated to a Charity.


Australians, as we all know, celebrate Christmas in the middle of the summer thanks to their geographical positioning. They have a tradition of holding ‘Carols by Candlelight' concerts every Christmas Eve. These concerts are generally held outdoors and include some of the best singers and theatre performers of the country. People in the audience hold lit candles and join in singing some of the carols in accompaniment with the celebrities.

  • Away In A Manger
  • Carol Of The Bells
  • Hark
  • O Come All Ye Faithful
  • O Holy Night
  • Silent Night
  • We Three Kings Of Orient Are
  • The Cherry Tree Carol
  • Twelve Days of Christmas
  • Carols By Candlelight
  • Wassailing
  • French Christmas Carols
  • German Christmas Carols
  • Funny Christmas Carols


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