Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pagan origins of carols?

It is ironic that the lack of traditional Christmas songs recently caused a controversy in Nairn (see the the post below) if what a churchman said on Radio 4 is correct:
'The Rev Dr Ian Bradley, reader in Church History at St Andrews University, a Church of Scotland minister and the author of several books on carols and hymns, says that carols originally had nothing to do with religion. They were connected with pagan festivals and popular folklore and accompanied sensuous dances which were often related to fertility rights. '
You can read an article on what makes a Christmas Carol here and access a BBC recording of the article too.


choir boy said...

Always knew it was 'little town of bedlam' in yonder years

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many people actually take notice of the words they are singing? I think people just like a good tune and a good sing song. Singing carols gives them an opportunity to do this.

Listening to the recording of the article gives a great insight to the origins of this pastime. Lets pull it back from religion/churches (who, according to The Rev Dr Bradley, didn't allow carols until the 19th century as they were seen as a rather low-brow popular form of celebrating Christmas), stop feeling guilty about not being PC, stick on some Christmas CD's and have a right old blast at singing Carols. It'll probably make us all feel a lot better!

Here we go then, altogether now, "Once in royal David's.....".

Anonymous said...

Yes and reminds me of those great alternative lyrics of childhood

'Whilst shepherds washed their socks by night'


'Jingle Bells Batman smells'

we somehow remembered these :-)

Anonymous said...

Interesting to imagine the pagans of many centuries past sitting around gurning about these new fangled, politically correct christians who insisted on them renaming their age old winter festival as 'Christmas' and stopped them from having their good old wintersong.

nairnbairn said...

From churches to shopping centres, from Royal David's City to Slade's Merry Christmas Everybody - there seem to be seasonal carols and songs for everyone...

But what is it about New York at this time of year? The Pogues' Fairytale of New York features in many lists of favourites. But one of the best has to be Rob Thomas' New York Christmas. Listen to it here

"Bring your compassion
Your understanding
Lord, how we need it..."

As the song says, "a prayer for peace on earth within our time"

Happy Christmas, Gurn and Gurnites