Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Happy Christmas by Johansen Viggo, 1891

I thought today I'd put together a little of everything for the week and leave it at that. ;-) I daresay many will be so busy with holiday prep that blog-reading will fall by the wayside. So today, a one-stop shop for some Christmasy history and fun.

So let's take a look at Christmas carols. I confess that I love Christmas music! I have a Pandora channel on my Roku (hooked up to TV to let me access online stuff like Netflix) and have had the classical Christmas channel playing in the evenings. Lovely. But have you ever wondered when the songs came around? Here are just a few with their dates.

"Angels We Have Heard on High"
Lyrics translated to English in 1862

"Deck the Hall"
Lyrics, 1862. Music is a 16th century Welsh melody. (The 's' got added to the title in 1877)

"God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen"
Dates from the mid 1700s (exact date unknown)

"Joy to the World"
Lyrics by Isaac Watts, 1719--intended not as a Christmas song, 
but as one to celebrate the second coming. 
The tune we know was written in 1839 by Lowell Mason. 
Earlier tune was taken from Handel's Messiah.

"Silent Night" (my favorite)
Lyrics were written in 1816 and music in 1818 by a friend of the writer;
it was performed that Christmas Eve in a small German town.

"The Twelve Days of Christmas"
Lyrics from 1780, but without a tune. The melody we know wasn't written until 1909.

"We Wish You a Merry Christmas"
This one takes the prize as the oldest! Words and music date from the 16th century!

And I do indeed with you all a very Merry Christmas! If anyone has down time on Wednesday or Thursday, I have a post scheduled on Colonial Quills that talks a bit about the tradition of the Yule log.


2 comments:

  1. Wow. Just the other day I was wondering when Christmas songs like these came about. Merry Christmas, Roseanna!

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