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Why Do We Sing Carols at Christmas?

Christmas caroling is a fun way to spread that holiday cheer as Christmas Day approaches. Over time, when you turn on the radio or step in a store during the holiday season, you can be sure to hear some Christmas music playing. Music, in general, plays a big role in everyone's life, but it becomes even more obvious when those Christmas lights go up. There's something about going caroling that has kept it going to this day. Whether you're caroling at an event or going door to door, being outside with friends or family adds a memory during the holidays everyone will remember. While we think that caroling is joyful and fun, it has had a long and troubled past to get to where it is now.

Caroling from the very beginning actually had nothing to do with Christmas. As a word with a definition meaning “to dance to something”, carols were originally celebratory songs from pagan festivals. People would have celebrations where they would sing and dance at the time of the change for all four seasons.

Over time, the Christian holiday took over, and a series of songs populated which were all in Latin at the time. These Latin songs were mostly common folk causing it hard for others to sing or even follow along. Due to this, Christmas songs began to go away. It was in the 1200s when St. Francis of Assisi brought them back with their nativity plays. These plays consisted of canticles or songs that explained the Nativity scenes. What made these songs different was that they weren't in Latin, making them easier for people to follow and sing along. Therefore, this made Christmas songs more popular, so they began spreading across Europe. Unfortunately, for nearly two centuries, the English speaking world lost carols, and signing as the Puritan movement made this reflect a sin. It took over two hundred for people to find the inspiration to celebrate, sing, and most importantly move past this Puritan movement view of singing carols. Since then, caroling has again gained popularity throughout the world.

In today's society, we still see Christmas caroling take place. It is a tradition that will last for years to come as Christmas music continues to evolve. Whether you enjoy Christmas music on the radio or singing it with friends, it's all part of the holiday tradition.