The custom of caroling and Christmas carols is thought to have originated in England when roaming musicians would go from town to town and visit castles and other houses of the rich to give unrehearsed performances. But there also is the notion that singing carols at Christmas probably came from the group of angels, shepherds and who visited Jesus at his birth, since they worshiped the holy child, sang and proclaim praises unto Him. And after their visit, they went on with their declarations in the street.
The origin of the word carol however, is believed to come from the word 'caroler,' which is a French word that identifies a circle dance with singers. And from the twelfth through the fourteenth centuries, the carol was extremely popular as a dancing song. The use of carols then developed to festivals where they were sung as processional songs and others were utilized as part of spiritual mystery plays in Europe. Some traditional qualities of a carol was that the words conveyed should celebrate a topic that was seasonal, have verses and a chorus staged alternately and have music that was suitable for dancing. Though a lot of the carols that are now common at Christmas time are very old, there are others from earlier times that did not make it. Around the 17th century when the Protestants, led by Oliver Cromwell were in power in England, several Christmas carols were banished and therefore some were never heard again. The Christmas carols that survived the Protestant Reformation period did not become very popular until the mid-19th century to the start of the 20th century.
Many of the Christmas carols that were prohibited, and early Christmas carols in general, had lyrics that conveyed joyous and merry themes instead of the serious somber words present in church hymns. Around the time when carols were banned, some composers and musicians composed non-religious songs that had extremely varied choral music, which they called carols, for Christmas. After Christmas carols again became popular, a lot of those songs were re-arranged with fresh Christian lyrics and utilized by the church. Making alterations to Christmas carols continues in a different way today with pop artistes singing the carols to different tunes and melodies to give them a style that characterizes the particular artiste. Having Christmas carols with tunes of modern-day or popular music of today means that they're also more likely to endure because younger listeners will be interested in listening to any music that is done by their favorite or other popular singers. The popularity of Christmas carols in the United States expanded in the 19th century, as it did in England, because many of the traditions related to Christmas arrived in the United States from England. The United States and England also have nearly linked religious observances, which also accounts for the popularity and similarity of Christmas carols that are loved in both countries.
Nowadays, radio stations are the first to play Christmas carols, typically starting toward mid-November, to indicate the coming season. At the start of December when the Christmas season officially begins, shopping malls and other retail establishments will begin to pipe Christmas carols and songs through their business establishment.
The singing of carols at churches, schools, and by groups performing at malls normally will be a common sight starting in early to mid-December. Carol singing as a part of Nativity plays and concerts at church service and schools is usually in full action by mid-December as the Christmas season goes into high gear and the countdown to Christmas Day begins.
Whether it's the traditional tune or popular remakes of Christmas carols that you enjoy, listening to them is part of an old Christmas custom. And any version of a Christmas carol that is played will serve the role of putting you in a festive mood for Christmas that you might even want to dance, just like the music of original carols was entailed