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The word carol means dancing to something in a circular manner, and it originated from the Latin word ‘carula’ and French ‘carole’. Thus, carols are songs of joy and praise during sang celebrations such as the Christmas season. Christmas carols are important part of the Christmas celebration because they not only put people in the Christmas mood, but also tell the joyous stories surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ. Therefore, Christmas carols center on Christmas theme, or may not refer to Christmas specifically, but are associated with the holiday season, as they are sang during the period that immediately surrounds the Christmas holiday. This research paper explores Christmas carols from the origin, meaning, kinds, difference between past and present carols, and their impact on unity and identity of the people that practice the Christmas tradition.
The first carols sung in Europe were surprisingly pagan songs instead of Christmas songs. The pagans sang the carols during the celebrations of the Winter Solstice while dancing round stone circles. Though the original carols involved both singing and dancing, only the singing part survived, as dancing is not common in the Christmas tradition of singing carols. However, early Christians took the solstice celebrations from the pagans and turned it into Christmas, and consequently, introduced Christian songs for people to sing during this period instead of the pagan songs. The first Christmas hymns appeared in Rome around 129AD when a Bishop introduced the ‘Angels Hymn’ to be sung at a Christmas service.1 Similarly, Comas of Jerusalem wrote another early Christmas Hymn for the Greek Orthodox Church in 760AD. Other pioneer Christmas hymns include Veni redemptor gentium and Corde natus ex Parentis, among others that focused on statements of incarnation regarding the theological doctrine. Thus, followed a period in Europe when many composers wrote several popular Christmas carols. However, most of
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