How Christmas Carols Began


For centuries Christmas music has been a beloved and important part of wintertime to many people across the world. Even those that do not celebrate Christmas still like to tune into the radio or listen as the carolers sing throughout their neighborhood. But even with the popularity of such a tradition, when did this trend begin?
Thousands of years ago Christmas was not as important as other Christian celebrations. Due to this, caroling never started off as a Christmas tradition. Carols, first said to be sung in Europe thousands of years ago, were sung throughout the year and more toward other holidays. During the winter they were sung only to celebrate the season. It wasn’t until the 13th century Christmas carols began to be recorded. These carols date back to places in Europe like France, Italy, and Germany, with many songs such as “Silent Night” having German origins. The spread of Christmas carols started because Saint Francis of Assisi decided to record all of the carols he had heard in church, leading to a significant spread of those who began to sing for Christmas. In other areas, other factors have helped the spread of Christmas carols. In England, for example, a man named John Audely wrote several Christmas carols which sparked popularity across the country. With more people beginning to learn them, the idea of going door to door to sing carols began to spark.
With the boom of carols being sung throughout the early centuries, many musicians began to compose christmas songs as well. Musicians like Vivaldi, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, and Bach are said to have composed christmas music, with a few seeming to have taken inspiration from the old folk chants and carols. While much didn’t seem to change for a few centuries, a sudden resurgence in the popularity of Christmas music began during the 1930s and 50s. This new music began to focus less on religion and more on the joy of the holiday,

emphasizing other aspects of Christmas such as Santa Claus, Snowmen, Christmas Trees, and much more. These songs were extremely popular back then, with many classics such as “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Last Christmas” still holding up today.
With all of this in mind, it is fascinating to see how far Christmas music has come. From just simple folk songs celebrating the season to mainstream music that brings everyone together for the holidays, Christmas music has become an essential part of the feelings of joy in the holidays. Without such music being sung throughout the winter season, who knows if Christmas would be really as exciting as it is.