The Origin of Christmas Caroling

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The tradition of Christmas caroling has been around for a very long time. It is a tradition that many people love, young and old alike. It is a way to spread the holiday spirit without spending a lot of money. It is also a way to lift the spirits of those that can not get out and about during the holiday season, such as those confined to nursing homes. Christmas caroling is also used as a way to raise money for charities during the holiday season. How did such a heartwarming tradition begin? Well the answer to that is a bit sketchy.

Some say Christmas caroling was originally started by groups of drunken men and boys looking for a handout. They would go house-to-house singing folk songs or traditional drinking songs in exchange for money or a drink. While it is unknown if this actually happened, it is unlikely that caroling, as we know it, originated from an act that was so selfish.

Another account of how Christmas caroling originated involves a small child named Carol Poles. Carol was supposedly reported missing from London in 1888 during which time the serial killer Jack the Ripper was on the loose. This was a great cause of concern for family and friends of the little girl as well as those that were searching for her. Legend has it, that those that were searching for the little girl would sing Christmas carols as they went house to house, knocking on each door. They did so in an effort to ease the worried residents and to show that the search party meant no harm to them. It is said that Christmas caroling continued from that time on. This account has pretty much been proven to be a myth because Charles Dickens story, A Christmas Carol, which had been written 50 years earlier, tells of people going door to door singing Christmas carols.

The most believable account of the origins of Christmas caroling takes place in England in the 1840’s. After Prince Albert of Germany married Victoria of England, the English peasants were eager to please and impress the newly married royal family. After reading in a newspaper that Prince Albert thoroughly enjoyed Christmas carols, the peasants starting serenading him with them. Caroling has been a tradition ever since. It is said that the Methodists and Lutherans brought a modified version of this tradition to America. The American tradition of caroling involves traveling carolers being offered food and drinks after being welcomed into the homes that they were serenading.

Even though we do not know for sure how Christmas caroling began, it is a tradition that is still loved by many. It is a heartwarming way to let people know you are thinking of them. It also tends to awaken the Christmas spirit in those that are listening.


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