Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wassail, wassail

Somewhere the other day I read that a lot of the old Christmas carols were originally medieval and Renaissance dancing songs.

"Deck the Halls" was one. I looked it up. You can kind of hear it in how James Taylor plays it!

 I knew from personal experience in the medieval society, once upon a time, that "Ding Dong Merrily on High" was another. We did a dance to that tune. It was this medieval circle dance.

It is fun to think about how many Christmas carols are old, old, old.

Old as Lou Rawls, as a rapper once said in a rap number. My brother George heard that lyric and we have never forgotten it. When something is really old we say it is old as Lou Rawls.

"O Come O Come Emmanuel" is of course old as Lou Rawls.

And of course such chestnuts roasting on an open fire as "In Dulci Jubilo," a personal favorite of mine, and "O Tannenbaum." These are ancient German carols, definitely old as Lou Rawls.

English carols old as Lou Rawls would probably include Renaissance-y songs like "The Boar's Head Carol," which I love, and "The Holly and the Ivy." Holly and ivy are ancient symbols of Christmas and that is where we get the red and green. And of course there are the obvious old as Lou Rawls carols, like "The Coventry Carol." And another song I love, "Here We Come A Wassail-ing." I love any song about wassail.

Christmas carols are like candy bar brands.

Old as Lou Rawls!

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