Christmas carols: the history behind 5 festive favourites
A favourite Welsh folk song during the 16th century we know today as Deck the Halls only acquired Christmassy words in the 19th century.
Deck the Halls had words that would not have suited the prim Victorians. In the 1860s, Thomas Oliphant changed the lines to suit the dancing melody and lively 'fa la la' chorus for the celebration of Christmas preparations.
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Church records from the 15th and 16th centuries show that holly and ivy were bought in the winter. Private houses were also decorated with greenery at this time.
The precursor to the Christ...
In Germany, "Paradise Plays" were performed to celebrate the feast day of Adam and Eve, which was on Christmas Eve. A tree of knowledge was represented by an evergreen fir with apples tied to its branches.
In 1419, a guild in Freiburg put up a tree decorated with apples, wafers, tinsel and gingerbread.
Until recent times, community singing was thought to have decreased in popularity, suggesting less of a sense of tradition than there used to be.
But in recent years, there have been signs...
Christmas is one of the few times people feel they can sing together. Christmas songs are one of the few remaining national repertoires.
As you go in from a cold night into a warm pub full of people who want to share the songs, you gain a deep sense of pride and connection, and you're sharing the traditional with past and future generations.