Interesting Facts About 4 of the Most Popular Christmas Songs

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Interesting-Facts-About-4-of-the-Most-Popular-Christmas-Songs

Every year, once the weather cools down and the calendar inches closer to December, Christmas songs start to make their way into our shops, cars, and homes. Even though we know all the lyrics and can hum all the popular Christmas songs in our sleep, do we know why they were written or even how they came about? Now you can be in the know. Check out the backstories to some of these all-time favorites.

 

Carol of the Bells

Surprisingly, this Christmas classic was originally an Ukrainian folk song about Spring. It had nothing to do with Christmas at all. The song, called “Shchedryk” is typically sung at the first sign of Spring to welcome in the warmer weather. The lyrics talk about a bird that sings a little song of good fortune from house to house. Peter Wilhousky, composer of “Carol of the Bells,” refitted the tune to this old folk song with English lyrics that talk about bells welcoming in the Christmas season.

 

Winter Wonderland

This happy upbeat song we all love around this time of year, came about because a man suffering from Tuberculosis decided to turn his misfortune into something positive. Richard Smith wrote the lyrics to “Winter Wonderland” in 1934 while undergoing treatment for Tuberculosis at West Mountain Sanitarium in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Smith delighted in seeing children playing in the snow from his hospital window and reminisced about his own childhood memories of playing winter games with friends. In wanting to capture the fun youthful spirit of the snowy scene outside his hospital window, he penned the lyrics to “Winter Wonderland.” Now, year after year, we all get to enjoy the uplifting lyrics of this Christmas favorite.

 

White Christmas

An All-American classic, “White Christmas” conjures up images of the quintessential New-England Christmas and captures the hometown holiday spirit that is familiar to us all. It may be hard to believe, but this song was written by a Jewish-Russian immigrant. Irving Berlin, also known for writing “God Bless America” was a famous songwriter who composed over a thousand songs during his lifetime. Popular and in high demand with the movie industry, it is said that Berlin wrote “White Christmas” in 1937 while working in Hollywood for a time. Berlin was homesick and separated from his family during the holidays. Although he did not grow up celebrating Christmas he appreciated the cultural aspect of Christmas and had a knack for putting to music, what stirs in the hearts of every person that is separated from family and loved ones during this special time of year. It spoke to millions of soldiers overseas missing their family during the holidays and was even aired shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Related Article:  A Winter Wonderland in Wisconsin You Won’t Want to Miss

 

The 12 Days of Christmas

The lyrics behind “The 12 days of Christmas” may seem to have nothing to do with religion, but in fact, it has everything to do with it. The classic Christmas carol was written in England during a time when it Catholicism was outlawed. Somewhere between 1558 and 1829. During this time, it was a crime to practice Catholicism in private or public. This song, written in quiet rebellion to teach about the Bible, uses secular things to symbolize religious beliefs. The “partridge in a pear tree” actually represents Christ on the cross. Where as the “three french hens” represents God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Drawing from the Old and New Testaments, the “seven swans a swimming” signifies the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and the “eight maids a milking” symbolize the eight beatitudes, which are Jesus’ teachings on happiness.

 

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