Oh Christmas Carol, Oh Christmas Song

Posted on Dec 19, 2016

There is one Christmas tradition that all of us know too well, caroling. Every year, it’s tradition to come together and sing songs and carols that capture the spirit of Christmas. What many people don’t know is that there is a big difference between Christmas carols and Christmas songs.

Christmas Carol Choir by http://www.sternbergclarke.co.uk/acts/christmas-carol-choir

To make a distinction between the two, let us first look at the definition of the words song and carol. A song is a poem or a set of words set to music. A carol, on the other hand, is defined as a folk song or popular hymn often associated with religion. Moreover, something that is considered a carol is a song that has stood the test of time.

Using these definitions, we can say that Christmas carols are those that tackle the story of Christmas, as told by the Bible. Carols often tell the story of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, the birth of Christ, and the three kings who brought gifts to Jesus. Also, some carols are songs of praise and thanks for the coming of Christ. Examples of popular carols are “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “The First Noel,” “Joy to the World,” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”

On the other hand, Christmas songs tackle the modern traditions that come with the season, such as Santa Claus, Christmas trees, reindeers, wintertime, and the like. Popular Christmas songs include “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” “Deck the Halls,” and “Jingle Bells.”

Before, people were careful not to confuse a Christmas song with a Christmas carol because carols were exclusively used in the church. Today the two terms are loosely used, and Christmas songs and carols coexist in harmony.


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