A long time ago in this time of year, especially in England, groups of singers would set out of an evening and go from house to house to serenade their neighbors. Since this was a partying time in those days, often these wandering choirs would be going from party to party, and not only singing would go on but also eating and drinking. At some of the grander parties of the time music was part of the feast and would include both singers and musical instruments. The music they sang was ostensibly about Christmas, but the lyrics of the songs, not to mention the traditions being engaged in at the feasts, hearkened back to the old pre-Christian Winter Solstice celebrations, from which the church borrowed heavily to create the Christmas holy season. Nowadays these musical celebrations have become known as the Christmas Revels, and groups hold public performances here in the US as part of the Christmas seasonal celebration. Here are some of the songs sung on those occasions.
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger