Where Did Christmas Caroling Come From?
I was never really the history buff growing up. I was more under the impression that history is kind of like story time, and story time means bed time. In which case...I wasn't the best history student.
However, now that I'm older I do genuinely appreciate the ancestry behind where our traditions and cultures come from!
For example: December 20th marks, "Go Caroling Day"--how did that come about and where did caroling even begin?
Well, according to WhyChristmas.com:
Carols were first sung in Europe thousands of years ago, but these were not Christmas Carols. They were pagan songs, sung at the Winter Solstice celebrations as people danced round stone circles....The word Carol actually means dance or a song of praise and joy! Carols used to be written and sung during all four seasons, but only the tradition of singing them at Christmas has really survived.
As for the oldest Christmas Carol in the work, billboard.com says that St. Hilary of Poitiers composed the Latin carol "Jesus refulsit omnium" aka, "Jesus illuminates all", in the fourth century, presumably after the first recorded Christmas celebration back in 336 A.D.
As for the renaissance attire, the apparel of caroling has evolved. In a recent blog, it's been said that many traditional caroler costumes are based on 1840s -1860s fashions. That usually consists of large skirts, puffy sleeves and a cape for warmth. But other time periods that have heavily influenced the style of the caroler would be the Medieval/Early Renaissance and the 1950s.
Why? Well, the purpose of Caroling originated as a European tradition that became especially popular during the Middle Ages. According to a thepragmaticcustomer, groups of singers would go from house to house, singing simple songs and entertaining each household with skits in return for sweetcakes, a warming drink, or charity money.
So when you go about Christmas caroling later today, be sure to really dig down into your caroling history to get into the Holiday Spirit!