I can not do a series of Blogs on Christmas traditions without including Christmas Carols, and the most famous one of all; Silent Night. The word “Carol” was given to a popular dance of the 14th century. As time went on the dancer would sing to the rhythm of their movements. As time continued the word carol become more associated with the songs they sang than the dance. Some of the older carols have the same rhythms as they used to dance to such as “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly,” and “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.”
“Silent Night” was written by a Lutheran village priest in Germany. What happened was the priest was informed that the church organ was broken on Christmas Eve afternoon. He was all upset because there would be no music for the Christmas Eve service that evening. He remember he had an old guitar, and with the help of the music minister they came up with a melody for guitar and four verse that they used in their Christmas Eve services that evening. When the organ repair man came to fix the organ he asked them what they had done for music on their Christmas Eve service and they explained they had written a song for guitar and played it for him. He loved the song an asked for a copy of it, which they gave him. Being an organ repair man he went to a lot of different churches and would talk with the churches about what had happened and then would give them a copy of the song. Needless to say the song quickly spread and has become the most beloved Christmas carol.
Another tradition that goes along with “Silent Night” is ending the Christmas Eve Service with lighting candles and singing “Silent Night.” This comes from a Catholic Church service, usually performed in Monasteries, called Vespers. It was more informal than the other services they held throughout the day, with some Bible reading and songs. Many of the people of the area would come to this service and it was very popular. To end the service a Monk would light a large white candle and all the Parishioners would then bring a small candle and light them. After all the candles were lit they would sing a song and leave. The big White candle was to represent Jesus Christ and that He was the light of the world. All the small candles were to represent the individual soul that Christ had saved, and them leaving with the light was to represent taking Christ to the world. As time went on “Silent Night” became the traditional song to sing. This is a beautiful tradition that most people love, but do not know the reason why it is done.
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