Talk:Christmas carol

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Sufjan Stevens[edit]

Do we want to provide a reference to Sufjan Stevens' Songs for Christmas ? Riccarrdo

Charles Dickens[edit]

Do we want to provide a reference to Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol ? Chadloder

World Record[edit]

Do we want to include the World Record for largest caroling service? Mydotnet 01:05, Dec 6, 2004 (UTC)

This article can't seem to make up its mind: "A Christmas carol is a carol (song or hymn) whose lyrics are on the theme of Christmas, or the winter season in general." And later on: "Secular songs such as "White Christmas" and "Blue Christmas" are clearly not Christmas carols, though they are also popular in the period before Christmas, and should therefore be considered to be Christmas songs." The Christmas song article seems to indicate that a song must be traditional to be a carol, but doesn't identify what "traditional" means (often is music it is used for an old song when the author is unknown, which is not true of many Christmas carols). This article indicates the song does not have to be religious to be a carol. The List of Christmas carols also seems to make some arbitrary distinctions between song and carol. Can me get some consistent definitions here? -R. fiend 03:50, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The problem seems to be between the technical musical terminology of a carol, which may or may not have anything to do with Christmas (Although generally having to do with Advent, Christmas, Holy Week, Lent, or Easter), and the colloquial meaning of carol, which always refers to a sung piece of music related to the shopping period between Thanksgiving and New Years. So, which should this article be on? Also, there is no such thing as "Medieval chord patterns". Perhaps the meaning is that they are generally polyphonic rather than based on Common practice period tonal harmony, which results in different sonorities. I'm not sure what exactly was originally meant though.Makemi 21:29, 17 December 2005 (UTC)[reply]
Wikipedia currently defines Carol as "a festive song, generally religious but not necessarily connected with church worship, and often with a dance-like or popular character." Yet this article says, "Secular songs ... are not true Christmas carols." Contradictory? And who defined these terms anyhow? Some cited sources would be nice when making sweeping generalizations about what carols are/are not (and how Christmas carols may/may not differ in definition from non-Christmas carols). Smells dangerously of Original Research to me. 15:05, 19 December 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Merging articles[edit]

I would suggest that the article "Carol (music)" should be comined with this article "Christmas carol". All carols are Christmas carols. There are no Easter carols or midsummer carols. It is also very rare to have the music without the words (except in shopping malls). Ogg 09:43, 21 December 2006 (UTC)[reply]

"or the winter season in general." is incorrect as there are also christmas carols about the summer. There are two hemispheres; the other one has summer at christmas.

Ogg. From the back of my copy of "The Oxford Book of Carols",
"It contains 197 carols. Most are for the Christmas season, but some are for Passiontide or Easter, or for other seasons of the year."
Most people use 'carol' to mean 'Christmas carol', but there are other carols too. Some used currently at Christmas were originally New Year's carols. There are Lent carols and secular Christmas carols (The Boar's Head Carol and Sir Christemas for examples) and spring carols (Tempus Adest Floridum, the source of the tune to Good King Wenceslas). There's a carol for Saint Stephen. The Sans Day Carol isn't really a Christmas Carol, but one for the Easter season. The Furry Day Carol is a May song starting "Remember us poor Mayers all!" Nos Galan is a Welsh New Year's Eve secular Carol.
The point of this really is that 1) Not all carols are Christmas carols 2) What a carol is is hard to define, and really depends on its history, and the history of music. But we can all agree that Rudolph the Red-nose Reindeer is not a carol, and The Holly and the Ivy is. Skittle 19:58, 24 December 2006 (UTC)[reply]

I stand corrected. Ogg 13:17, 26 December 2006 (UTC)[reply]

I agree with the merge proposal. I think 'Christmas Carol' should be a heading on the Carol (music) article. Madder 19:46, 26 December 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Boar's Head Carol[edit]

The Boars Head Carol is sung at The Queen's College Oxford not Christ Church Oxford. There is no Christ Church Cambridge contrary to the claim in the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:33, 29 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]

There is a Christ Church in Cambridge but it is a 19th century church. The comment above was added in 2007 - isn't it time someone corrected the article? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:11, 9 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Removing the reference to Christ Church, Cambridge. (talk) 09:29, 16 January 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Wexford Carol[edit]

Should the Wexford Carol be mentioned here? It's a 12th Century Irish Carol which hasn't changed (apart from translation to English) even the tune, apparently, is unchanged. If I can find references to this, would it be of interest to the main article? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:38, 17 December 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Also called a Noel[edit]

Who calls a carol a Noel? DJ Clayworth (talk) 17:58, 7 December 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Christmas Carols in classical music - cleanup[edit]

I removed references to Handel's Messiah and and the Nutcracker from this section. The paragraphs did not mention the connection (if any) to the topic. These works are not and do not include Christmas Carols. -- (talk) 21:07, 18 December 2007 (UTC)[reply]


I added a reference to modern Christmas carols, specifically mentioning the works of Alfred Burt. -- (talk) 21:11, 18 December 2007 (UTC)[reply]

I'm involved in music in a church in Cambridge, UK, and have never heard of Alfred Burt. I suspect that his works are well known in the US but not the UK, and the article should be amended accordingly. (talk) 22:15, 9 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Origin of the word[edit]

"It is not clear whether the word carol derives from the French "carole" or the Latin "carula" meaning a circular dance."

What is the root of the word? Is it 'car'? What does it (the root) mean? Is there any connection to the English word 'car'?

The English spelling is a mess: 'cirkle' is spellt with 'c' pronounced as 's'; 'curve' is spellt with 'c' but pronounced as 'k' .... and so forth. Let's write these words phonetically: 'kirkle' and 'kurve'.

Make a small experiment now: say these words aloud and listen to the sounds you make. You'll find, the second sound doesn't have an English phonetic: it is an 'ő' sound. Let's write the words phonetically again: 'kőrkle and kőrve. Since the English does not pronounce the trailing 'e' it can be dropped: kőrkl and kőrv. Now the root of the words is clear: kőr. But what does it mean? Both of these words are to do with a cirkle. Indeed, 'kőr' means cirkle.

Now it is that vowels change easily: ker, kar, kur, kir have the same meaning. Therefore 'carol' -> 'karol' -> 'körol' -> köröl is the same. Another experiment: say aloud 'k' and 'g'. Feel how you are changing the position of the very back of your tongue. These two sounds are very-very close to each-other. Indeed, they used to be interchangable. Some long time ago, at the dawn of speach there was no difference. Therefore the 'k' can be changed to 'g': ger, gar, gur, gir and still, the words are to do with a 'cirkle'.

Word-roots, like trees grow branches: something is added to the root and the meaning is extended. All these words are part of a large word-tree. Not all of them found their way into Latin, French, English, German and others. Some examples for Latin -> English and French are above. In German 'kirche' means church and 'garten' -> 'garden' have the same root too.

So how do we know the origin of the root-word. Easy: which language has the largest word-tree around it? That is the Hungarian. The word 'curve' in Hungarian is two words: 'kör iv' written as one word 'köriv' and it means the same as the English version. Is there any connection to the English word 'car'? In Hungarian 'gör' is a root of words to do with 'rolling'. It is now clear that 'gör' -> 'gar' -> 'car' mean the same. Hungarian has more vowels than English. The sound 'é' stands for the sound in 'gear'. Phonetically: 'gér' and it should be obvious now that the root is the same 'kōr', 'ker', 'kér' -> 'gōr', 'ger', 'gér'. Indeed, in the gear-box there are gears and they are circular.

'Karol' also means 'folding arms' as well as putting one's arm around someone's shoulder. Many dances use this element. Finally, in Hungarian 'karol' also means 'cuddle' thus the carol is not just a circular dance where the dancers 'karol' each other but the tradition holds the village, the community together by passing the culture to the younger generation via those songs and dances.

For further info on Hungarian words in English see:
Look for the English flag to read the English articles. (Bill 9-Jan-08) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:57, 9 January 2008 (UTC)[reply]

No Batman Smells?[edit]

Why aren't the naughty or bad lyrics of these songs not addressed in the article? Because almost every Christmas carol I know, I only know the evil lyrics.

For instance:

Batman's in the kitchen, Robin's down the hall, Joker's in the bathroom pissing on the wall! Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg, Batmobile lost a wheel and Joker got away, hey! Jingle bells, Batman smells, fifteen miles away, blew his nose though Cherrios and eats 'em everyday, hey!


Joy to the world, the teacher's dead, because I barbecued her head. Don't worry about her toes, I shoved 'em up her nose. Don't worry about her body, I flushed her down the potty. 'Round and 'round it goes, 'round and 'round it goes.


Deck the halls with gasoline fala la lala la la lala, Light a match and watch it gleam fala la lala la la lala, Burn the schoolhouse down to ashes fala la lala la la lala, Aren't you glad you played with matches? fala la lala la la lala

And of course, the extremely offensive LeRoy song, sung to the tune or Rudolph.

(I forgot about Bob River's Walking Around in Women's Underwear, sung to the tune of Winter Wonderland.)

Just wondering why these aren't addressed. Coffee5binky (talk) 19:18, 11 December 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Because this is a serious encyclopedia project. Now, get lost. —QuicksilverT @ 21:09, 14 December 2009 (UTC)[reply]
Yeah because in an encyclopedia, they never address ubiquitous phenomenon because it's not serious enough. Does anyone have a legitimate criticism apart from "get lost"? (talk) 07:14, 21 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Do you have any legitimate criticism apart from your very unobjective, unhelpful, and rude "no it's not serious enough, now get lost"? That kind of response helps no one and is, more importantly, not a satisfactory criticism. (talk) 02:09, 14 October 2014 (UTC)[reply]
What about: schoolyard parodies of Christmas Carols are like dirty jokes, ubiquitous and in need of their own page. (talk) 08:05, 5 August 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Un Feu, Jeanette et Isabella[edit]

Should not the Medival French Carol Un Feu, Jeanette et Isabella be included? Loosely translated it means Bring a Torch, Jeanette and Isabella. I understand both the words and the tune are from the Middle Ages. Patnclaire (talk) 06:26, 16 December 2010 (UTC)[reply]

You might be looking for List_of_Christmas_carols (talk) 04:02, 6 December 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Silent Night translation[edit]

Any evidence that the first translation of Silent Night into English was published in an 1871 Methodist hymnal? The article on Silent Night says that it was translated in 1859 by the Episcopal bishop of Florida. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:19, 23 December 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Christmas carol and villancico[edit]

Should "Christmas carol" and villancico be merged? Or should a Spanish article about "Christmas carol" be created? Best!--Correogsk or Gustavo (Eritrocito or Heme aquí) 23:09, 25 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]


This article (currently) (see ) contains the year "1833". Maybe that is right, but if so, then this web page (which says "1823") is wrong.

Does anyone here have a copy of the book (the book titled Carols Ancient and Modern, edited by William Sandys)? Or is there some method (perhaps using OCLC or the Library of Congress or something?) to find out which one is wrong? --Mike Schwartz (talk) 22:08, 23 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]

The book is actually called "Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern", and it was published in 1833 according to the British Library catalogue. You can see a copy of the book on, here. MichaelMaggs (talk) 16:35, 31 December 2019 (UTC)[reply]
I've added a citation to the book. But we don't yet have a source confirming that this was the first publication of those carols. MichaelMaggs (talk) 11:32, 1 January 2020 (UTC)[reply]


Renaming this article to "Christmas carols" fits better with its place in Christmas music -- where Christmas songs are plural throughout -- as well as the subheadings in the article itself. Perhaps it is more searched on in the plural form. The plural makes room for both a discussion of the carol as a form, and short lists of titles below.--Artaxerxes (talk) 15:49, 31 December 2019 (UTC)[reply]

I think the title should be retained in the singular, per WP:SINGULAR. As with the example Dog, it's perfectly easy to discuss a class, type or form without putting the title in the plural. It's true that several of the current subheadings use the plural form "Christmas carols", but those should be changed anyway to comply with MOS:NOBACKREF (section headings should not redundantly refer back to the subject of the article). For example, "Church and liturgical use of Christmas carols" should be changed to "Church and liturgical use". I see no special exceptional case here that requires a plural title. MichaelMaggs (talk) 16:27, 31 December 2019 (UTC)[reply]
I agree with MichaelMaggs's reasoning on both points (title, section headings). The article should be moved back urgently. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 03:02, 1 January 2020 (UTC)[reply]
So Artaxerxes (talk · contribs) decided to move it without discussion? I do not agree and am going to attempt to restore it until discussion has concluded. Walter Görlitz (talk) 04:00, 1 January 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Wikipedia is the encyclopedia anyone can edit. Don't get offended when people change stuff, just change it back if it's not correct98.215.8.67 (talk) 03:59, 6 December 2022 (UTC)[reply]

"Christma Carol" listed at Redirects for discussion[edit]

A discussion is taking place to address the redirect Christma Carol. The discussion will occur at Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion/Log/2020 May 20#Christma Carol until a consensus is reached, and readers of this page are welcome to contribute to the discussion. 1234qwer1234qwer4 (talk) 15:05, 20 May 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Suppression of Carols is missing?[edit]

Is there a reason why this well known episode in English carol history has been entirely omitted ? there is discussion of their return to popularity toward the later Victorian period but not their suppression from the earlier nineteenth century (due to association with popular rowdiness profanity and drunkenness)? It is well known that musicians were banned from the churches by overzealous vicars and the tradition was instead maintained only in rural pubs such as in Yorkshire and Cornwall from where they were revived from near extinction by academic and 're-evangelised' in the modern religious carol service tradition which began at the inauguration of Truro cathedral in the 20th century. I also haven't yet seen the explanation that 'carol' originally meant a dance rather than a song. Truth regards not who is the speaker, nor in what manner it is spoken, but that the thing be true; and she does not despise the jewel which she has rescued from the mud, but adds it to her former treasures 18:24, 30 November 2021 (UTC)

Do you have a source? Why don't you add it? Sounds like a good addition98.215.8.67 (talk) 04:00, 6 December 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Good King Wenceslas[edit]

Good King Wenceslas: the tune as noted in the article was in the 16th-century Piae Cantiones but the words date to the Victorian period and the original tune was an Easter carol. (talk) 06:11, 25 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

A Commons file used on this page or its Wikidata item has been nominated for deletion[edit]

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