This holiday season, the Web will have an abundance of free Christmas music available for downloading. This includes many different types of songs written for the mid-winter celebration. Christmas songs that are traditional, but do not have religious content, are called carols. Some of the more popular Christmas carols include “Deck the Halls” and. “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Songs like “O Come All Ye Faithful” that do express religious sentiments are known as hymns. There are also songs written for movies that do not have specific Christmas themes, but are thought of as Christmas songs because they are associated with the mid-winter festivities. These include songs like “White Christmas” and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.” Of late, there are even songs that parody the traditional Christmas music that has become so well-known to all of us.
Music has been a major feature of the Christmas holiday since ancient times. According to Christmas song historian Bill Petro, the first chants, litanies, and hymns were in Latin and too theological for popular use. The 13th century found the rise of the carol written in the vernacular under the influence of Francis of Assisi. The word carol comes from the Greek word choraulein. A choraulein was an ancient circle dance performed to flute music. In the Middle Ages, the English combined circle dances with singing and called them carols. Later, the word carol came to mean a song in which a religious topic was treated in a style that was familiar or festive. From Italy, it passed to France and Germany, and later to England, everywhere retaining its simplicity, fervor, and mirthfulness. Music in itself has become one of the greatest tributes to Christmas, and includes some of the noblest compositions of the great musicians.
“Interestingly enough,” reports Petro, “during the British Commonwealth government under Cromwell, the British Parliament prohibited the practice of singing Christmas carols as pagan and sinful. Its pagan roots in the 13th century and its overly “democratic” 14th century influences made it an unsuitable activity for the general public and it was to be mandated so, by the Commonwealth government of 1647.” Puritans at this time disapproved as well of the celebration of Christmas, according to Petro, and did not close shop on that day, but continued to work through December 25. During this brief interlude in English history, during which there was no monarch, this activity by the populace was to remain illegal. But this activity was prohibited only as long as the Commonwealth survived, and in 1660, when Charles II restored the Stuarts to the throne, the public was once again able to practice the singing of Christmas carols.
Today, many people wonder whether “Christmas” is truly a religious celebration honoring the birth of Christ or a commercial celebration of winter. In truth, it is a mixture of both. Clearly, new technology allows more people than ever before to enjoy the Christmas season. If Christ and the Apostles were alive today, they probably would be downloading Christmas MP3’s.
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Source by Eztracks