The Christmas season is a time of silver bells ringing and carol singing. Here’s a look at where some popular carol traditions originate from.

The origin

The tradition of singing carols is one that was followed in pagan times all through the year. As Christianity spread, new songs were written which centred on the Christmas story and were only sung during the Yuletide.

St. Francis of Assisi is said to have popularised the singing of carols as a part of nativity plays. The history of going around the locality singing carols is largely unknown. But there is an interesting story that the word ‘carol’ began to be used when a little girl named Carol went missing during Christmas and the search parties sang Christmas songs while they looked for her.

A bitter-sweet memory

The carol ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’ has a bittersweet beginning. Songwriter James Gillespie was asked to write a Christmas song just after he received the news that his brother had died. He was initially too distraught to even consider it. But he was reminded of their childhood days when their mother would warn them that Santa was watching their every move. He jotted down the song and the rest is history.

A matter of faith

‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ is said to have been created during the reign of King Henry VIII to teach Catholic children about their faith without facing persecution. Each item in the song has special religious significance, for instance the ‘two turtle doves’ are said to stand for the two testaments of the Bible. However, it could also be that it was a folk song sung during Christmas time which was then given special significance by later Christians.

If you would like to enjoy these and many more Christmas melodies, head over to Cidade de Goa on December 16, 2017 for an evening of carols which are sure to get you into the spirit of the season.