Benefit from
our Emails!

Great discounts & content. Sign Up!

Or, learn more about
our emails!
Find the perfect ornament: Gift finder Tool
all categories:
$$ ON SALE! $$
Activities
Advent Calendars
African American / Ethnic
Angel
Anniversary, Wedding & Engagement
Baby
Birthstone
College and University
Diannes Gift Ideas
Easter
Expecting Moms/Couples
Fairy Tales and Nursery Rhymes
Fall and Halloween
Family
Food & Drink
For Her
For Him
Glass Ball
Glass Ornaments
Graduation
Grandparents
Holiday Plaques
Home
Kids
Made in America
Made in Europe
Memorial
Music
Occupations
Patriotic
Pets and Animals
Picture Frames
Piggy Banks
Religious
Santa & Snowman
Snow Globes
Space & Technology
Sports
Table Decorations
Teachers and School
Transportation
Vacation and Travel
Valentine
Western

Christmas A to Z

Learn interesting, unusual, unique and useful facts and tips about Christmas and the winter holiday season, in America and around the world.

How Pagan Songs Became Christmas Carols

W

e’ve been hearing them since our mothers sang them to us when we were still babes in arms and they taught us their favorites.

But why are they "carols" and not just "Christmas songs"?

The pre-Christian pagan tribes, who have given us many of our Christmas traditions, would sing songs while dancing in a circle at the time of the winter solstice. The idea was to insure that the days would grow longer and the weather warmer. In Old French this activity of circle dancing was called carole, which in turn was derived from the Latin choraula ("dance in a ring").

On the other hand, it may go back to the Greeks – who, as they say, "always had a word for it." Early religious music often had a musician – such as a flute player – backing up the singers. The Greek word for circle dance, choreai, is similar to our pronunciation of carol. Interestingly enough, wealthy Greeks were often sponsors of theatrical productions for the public and paid for everything – the actors, masks (you know, like the ones for comedy and tragedy), costumes… everything except for the flute player. His fee was picked up by the state.

Written by Dianne Weller
Back to list
Your source for personalized Christmas ornaments and gifts for all occasions.
Baby's First Christmas Ornaments
History of Ornaments
Xmas Trivia
Join Our Affiliate Program
Our Scholarship Offer
Privacy Policy
Security
Website Terms of Use

Follow us!

For unique and decorative Christmas ornaments from around the world, visit our sister site... Christmas Ornaments