Music, they say, is food for the soul. Yuletide season comes with a lot of beautiful moments, one of which is the musical waves of Christmas strings and tunes which breathe into the air from different street corners and houses.
These songs most times are accompanied by the beautiful Christmas lights which flash into the streets and make a beautiful moment, especially during nighttime.
There are several Christmas songs that will always repeat themselves every Christmas Season. The history behind these songs goes a long way to understanding and singing the song. Among many are the common few listed are;
- Jingle Bell: This song was written by James Lord Pierpont (1822–1893) and published under the title “The One Horse Open Sleigh” in September 1857. It is known as the best and most popularly sung American song in the world. Originally it was written by a Sunday school choir for Church Thanksgiving and it became associated with winter and Christmas music in the 1860s and 1870s.
- A Merry Christmas: The origin of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” is unknown but people believed that it’s a traditional English Christmas carol song dated since 16th century. This sweet melody was sung by children in Victorian times as they went about performing door-to-door carols on Christmas Eve, expecting rewards.
- Santa Clause is coming to Town: The song “Santa Claus Is Coming’ to Town ” is written by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie. The first version recorded version was by banjoist Harry Reser with his band on October 24, 1934. It was then sung on Eddie Cantor ‘s radio show in November 1934.
- Holy Night: The song”O Holy Night ” (original title: Cantique de Noël) is a well-known Christmas carol. Originally based on a French-language poem by poet Placide Cappeau, written in 1843, with the first line “Minuit, Chrétien, c’est l’heure solennelle” (Midnight, Christian, is the solemn hour) that composer Adolphe Adam set to music in 1847.
- Joy to the World: “The song “Joy to the World” is an English Christmas carol written in 1719 by the English minister and hymn writer Isaac Watts. The lyrics of the song are an interpretation of Psalm 98 celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Today, the carol is usually sung to an 1848 arrangement by the American composer Lowell Mason.
- We three Kings: The song“We Three Kings” was composed within Hopkins’ circle of family and friends. Since it proved popular with them, Hopkins decided to publish the carol in his 1863 compilation Carols, Hymns, and Songs under the title “Three Kings of Orient.” The collection was to be the first of several that established Hopkins as a leading composer of hymns in the Episcopal church. “We Three Kings” became popular in England and was included in the 1871 prestigious Christmas Carols New and Old edited by Henry Bramley and John Stainer. It was the only American carol included in the influential collection.
- Ding dong merrily in the sky: “The song “Ding dong merrily in the sky” first appeared as a secular dance tune known under the title “Branle de l’Official in Orchésographie, a dance book written by the French cleric, composer,, and writer Thoinot Arbeau, pen name of Jehan Tabourot (1519–1593). The words are by the English composer George Ratcliffe Woodward (1848–1934), and the carol was first published in 1924 in his The Cambridge Carol-Book: Being Fifty-two Songs for Christmas, Easter, And Other Seasons. Woodward took an interest in the church bell ringing, which no doubt aided him in writing it.
- Hark the Herald Angel sing: This song “Hark the Herald Angel sing” is a hymnal English Christmas carol that first appeared in 1739 in the collection Hymns and Sacred Poems. The story in the lyrics of the song is based on Luke 2:14, which tells of an angelic chorus singing praises to God. As it is known in the modern era, it features lyrical contributions from Charles Wesley and George Whitefield, two of the founding ministers of Methodism, with music adapted from “Vaterland, in deinen Gauen” by Felix Mendelssohn.
- 12 days of Christmas: “The song “12 days of Christmas” is an English Christmas carol. A classic example of a cumulative song, the lyrics detail a series of increasingly numerous gifts given on each of the twelve days of Christmas (the twelve days that make up the Christmas season, starting with Christmas Day). The carol, whose words were first published in England in the late eighteenth century, has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 68. A large number of different melodies have been associated with the song, of which the best known is derived from a 1909 arrangement of a traditional folk melody by English composer Frederic Austin.
- The First Nowell: “The song “The First Nowell”, is a traditional English Christmas carol with Cornish origins, most likely from the early modern period. It is listed as number 682 in the Roud Folk Song Index.
These songs and many more reminds us of the birth of Jesus which is the reason for the Christmas Seasons, it creates an atmosphere of love, celebration, and gifting.
So as we celebrate this year’s Christmas, let us keep our spirit lifted with these Christmas songs and enjoy every moment that comes with it.