Christmas carols are thousands of years old. The concept of carols is thought to have spread from Europe, where they were sung for the first time.
However, these songs were not actually Christmas carols. They were considered as Pagan songs, which were sung at the Winter Solstice, celebrated by Pagans on December 22nd.
These songs were sung in a lively and joyous manner for all the four seasons and gradually came to be known as carols, meaning ‘songs of praise and joy’. This tradition of singing carols has continued through the ages.
Initially, many churches turned down the idea of singing Christmas carols, since it was considered to be a pagan custom that could not be included in sacred church services.
However, folk songs or carols depicting the Nativity Scene were written in the countryside. These simple songs soon gained popularity and in 1223, Saint Francis of Assisi, the Roman Catholic saint of animals and environment, introduced carols to church services.
These carols were loosely based on the Bible and were not hymns as opposed to their previous intention of entertainment.
‘Jingle bells’, is one of the most famous Christmas songs of all time, it was written by James Pierpont in 1857 for children celebrating his Boston Sunday school. The song was so popular that it was repeated at Christmas, and indeed Jingle bells have been reprised ever since.