I used to love going carolling around Christmas time. It always sounded so different out in the cold night air. I used to sing with a couple of choral groups and always loved the Christmas programs. I became very interested in older carols and went researching them at my university library. What I remember learning most was that carols weren't just sung at Christmas. There were carols for pretty much every season (gotta love the library). But tv can also be educational and recently, while watching a BBC special called The Truth About Christmas Carols (2008), I learnt some other surprising facts:
- Henry the VIII, a lover of music (as well as of food) was a composer and loved a good carol;
- carols were banned from Church by the Puritans (they did NOT know how to have fun!);
- O Come All Ye Faithful, may have been a loosely disguised call to rebellion;
- While Shepherds Watched their Flocks was thought a tad too crude by those prudish Victorians, so they changed some of the lyrics;
- and one of my favourites, The Coventry Carol, originates in a 16th C Mystery Play. My favourite version is by the Medieval Babes:
- Learn more about Ancient English Christmas Carols.
- Or read this article: Not Just Comfort and Joy: the Truth about Christmas Carols.
- And here are the lyrics for a heck of a lot more Christmas Carols & Seasonal Songs!