Yes, it's Sofia and I'm still here. In 10 days Christmas will be over. All that preparation, the gifts, cards, wrapping paper, Christmas dinner all over until next year. The rubbish bins? Overflowing!
For the last one before Christmas I have selected her blog on Christmas carols first published two years ago. So, when you are singing 'Away in a manger" or any other carol here is how it all started.
Lady M here!
And it is December with Christmas NEXT WEEK although from the shops and decorations it seems like it's been around for months. Well, since children returned to school in September.
Anyway, looking through my previous Christmas posts I've looked at candles and cards, trees and decorations, gifts, the origin of the festival and given you a quiz. What is left?
A carol is a song of happiness and joy and the word is derived from the French 'carole'. Originally, meaning a dance and in England it was a dance celebrating the shortest day of the year.
In the early Christian church the Pope wanted people to sing in memory of the birth of Jesus. However, the early songs and carols were not popular because they were sung in Latin and only the priests could both sing and understand them.
It was in 1223 at St Francis's Crib at Greccio that carols were first sung by people in a language they could understand. St Francis wanted to offer an alternative to the pilgrimage to Bethlehem which some wanted to make to celebrate the birth of Christ. These pilgrimages were both difficult and dangerous in the thirteenth century. From this initiative the idea of the 'crib' and carol service in local vicinities began and became a tradition. Then, the singers strolled home still singing and gave birth to the idea of street carolling . It spread worldwide.
Now, carol singers are a part of the Christmas festivities and they travel around homes collecting money for charity. Also, the candlelight carol service in church has become a part of the Christmas services and usually on the fourth Sunday in Advent, a few days before 25th.
A very popular carol is 'Silent Night'. This carol was composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr in the small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria. Originally, in German as 'Stille Nacht' and first sung at Christmas Eve (1818) at St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf. Other well-known carols include, 'Hark the herald angels sing', 'O little town of Bethlehem', and 'O come all ye faithful.' The latter is usually sung at the end of mass on Christmas Eve with it's rousing final verse of 'Yea, Lord we greet thee, born this happy morning'.
Hope you enjoyed the little history of carols and have a great time singing them this year. Try not to get too stressed out over Christmas. After all, it's over in a day!
Lady M xxx
Love ya Sofia xxx