Getting ready for Christmas – the tradition of Christmas carols

In many countries, Christmas is associated with lights, decorations, presents and music. In Anglo-Saxon countries, Christmas songs (Christmas carols) are a great part of the Christmas spirit. And even if you are not from an Anglo-Saxon country, you will probably have heard some of the most famous Christmas carols in films or on the radio.

The tradition of singing songs for Christmas dates back to the 4th century, with the first Christmas hymns in Rome. But it is not until the Middle Ages that Christmas songs really became popular. By that time, each country (England, France, Germany, Italy…) had songs in its own language. Nowadays, Christmas carols are sung in a religious context. However, they do not all have a religious theme – it is more the type of tune and beat that makes them Christmas carols.

Let’s see if you can recognize some of the most famous Christmas carols in this medley (answers below):

Here are the Christmas carols you just heard:
– Joy to the world
– Deck the halls
– God rest ye merry gentleman
– Good king Wenceslas
– Hark the herald
– Silent night
– Jingle bells
– Adeste Fideles (O’come all ye faithful)

In England, people (mainly children) go carol singing – or caroling – in the days before Christmas. They go from door to door to raise some money for charities. The famous British comedy character Mr. Bean also has carol singers at his door before Christmas, but of course, the end of the video does not really illustrate what the Christmas spirit is about!

Carol singing is also a tradition in Australia and New Zealand. But as Christmas happens during the summer in these countries, people can be outside more. They have “Carols by Candlelight”, with people singing carols on stage and the audience holding lit candles – a very special experience!


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