You would never guess but this carol’s background comes from Santa Clause. It is true, Clement Clarke Moore, who wrote “Twas the night before Christmas,” was also the son of an Anglican Bishop. Clement was a land developer in New York City and wrote the famous poem after a sleigh ride trip from his home. The poem made him very famous and wealthy.
The Anglican Church had voted to start a Seminary in America and Clement, being a famous Anglican, was sought out by the church for this project. Clement owned a large estate on the wooded North end of Manhattan, which he gave a portion of for the start of the Seminary.
Much later, a young man named John Hopkins went to this seminary then named, General seminary. He later became the Music professor for the seminary. The school had a tradition that they would perform a Christmas pageant every year, and John was in charge of the music. In 1857, John wrote “We Three Kings of Orient Are” for the annual pageant. The carol quickly caught on and was published in a Caroling book in 1867. John wrote many other carols and hymns but none is remembered like this one. It all goes back to Santa Clause and the night before Christmas song.