The Best Christmas Carols

Christmas Songs and CarolsThere is no Christmas without carol singing. From the 21st of December till the Christmas morning you can hear these beautiful songs in the streets and public places. They make us experience different feelings from happiness and joy to calmness and conciliation. There is no doubt that it is carol sining that fills us with some Christmas spirit, which is essential part of this holiday.

There is some difference between a Christmas carol and a Christmas song.

Christmas carols mainly focus on the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Christmas songs usually focus on more secular Christmas themes, such as winter scenes, family gatherings, and Santa Claus.

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From the History of Carol Singing

Carol singing is one of the oldest Christmas traditions, which started in the Middle Ages. The first carol singers were beggars who wandered the streets in search of food and money.

Here is the example of carol singing in the Victorian England from the cartoon «A Christmas Carol» based on the story of the same name by Charles Dickens.

You may find more information about Christmas Traditions  on the website http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/xmas/carols.html

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The Best Christmas Carols

Here are some traditional Christmas carols, three of them are in English, but one is in German.

1. God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen (in English)

2. Down in Yon Forest (in English)

3. O holy night (in English)

4. Laterne (in German)

I hope you will enjoy all of them. By the way, they were very difficult to find, I have spent the whole day searching for them on the Net. You will find lyrics, too.

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The Traditional Christmas Carol «God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen»

Its other names are  «God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen«or «God Rest You Merry People All«. There are many versions of it, below you will find the best traditional ones.

1. It is the carol which you hear in the cartoon “A Christmas Carol”. This is the version performed by the choir of Cambridge Trinity College.

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2. This is the most melodic version of the song God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen.

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3. As for the modern versions, there is a variation performed by “The Irish Rovers”. It has some Irish spirit and you may find it pleasing, too.

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The Lyrics of the Carol “God rest ye merry gentlemen”

God rest ye merry gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
For Jesus Christ, our Savior
Was born on Christmas Day
To save us all from Satan’s powers
When we were gone astray

Glad tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
Glad tidings of comfort and joy

In Bethlehem, in Israel
This blessed Babe was born
And laid within a manger
Upon this blessed morn
Of which His Mother Mary
Did nothing take in scorn

Oh, tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy

From God our Heavenly Father
A blessed angel came
And unto certain shepherds
Brought tidings of the same
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by name

Oh, tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy

«Fear not then,» said the angel
«Let nothing you affright
This day is born a Savior
Of a pure virgin bright
To free all those who trust in Him
From Satan’s power and might»

Oh, tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy

Now to the Lord sing praises
All you within this place
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface

Oh, tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy

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The Traditional Christmas Carol “Down in Yon Forest”

This English Christmas carol dates back to the Renaissance (from the late 15th to the early 17th century). Since that time it has been performed by many singers, among them was a British folksinger Shirley Collins. For me, her style of singing is the most enjoyable and tuneful and I have chosen it among the other versions of the song.

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The Lyrics of the Carol «Down in yon forest»

Down in yon forest there stands a hall
The bells of Paradise, I heard them ring;
It’s gilded all over with purple and pall,
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything.

Down in that hall there is a bed,
The bells of Paradise, I heard them ring;
All scarlet the cover lets over it spread.
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything.

Down under that bed there runs a flood,
The bells of Paradise, I heard them ring;
A half it runs water, a half it runs blood.
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything

Down at the bed-feet there springs a thorn,
The bells of Paradise, I heard them ring;
It blooms its white blossoms the day he was born.
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything

And over that place the moon shines bright,
The bells of Paradise, I heard them ring;
To show that our Saviour was born that night.
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything

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Not a Christmas Carol «Laterne»

To be honest, it is not a carol but it sounds like that. The song is devoted to Martin’s Day.

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The Lyrics of the song «Laterne» (in German)

Ich geh mit meiner Laterne
und meine Laterne mit mir.
Dort oben leuchten die Sterne
und unten da leuchten wir.

Mein Licht ist aus,
wir gehen nach Haus.
Rabimmel, rabammel, rabum.

Mein Licht ist aus,
wir gehen nach Haus.
Rabimmel, rabammel, rabum.

Ich geh mit meiner Laterne
und meine Laterne mit mir.
Dort oben leuchten die Sterne
und unten da leuchten wir.

Der Martinsmann, der zieht voran
Rabimmel, rabammel, rabum.

Der Martinsmann, der zieht voran
Rabimmel, rabammel, rabum.

Rabimmel, rabammel, rabum.

Rabimmel, rabammel, rabum.
Rabimmel, rabammel, rabum.
Rabimmel, rabammel, rabum.
Rabimmel, rabammel, rabum.

The poem composed in Russian to the music of  the song «Laterne» (Copyrighted by EnglishStory.ru)

Я иду домой,
Фонарь я несу с собой.
Звезды светят во тьме,
И вовсе не холодно мне.

Фонарь потух, а я иду
Туда, где тепло и уют.

Пурум пум пум пурум пум пум
Совсем не холодно мне…

Пурум пум пум пурум пум пум
Иду, где тепло и уют…

N.T.V.

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A Traditional Christmas Carol «O holy night»

And finally, «O holy night», the most well-known Christmas Carol. This version of the song is performed by the American singer Joe Nichols.

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The Lyrics of the Carol «O holy night»

O holy night the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees
O hear the angels’ voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine, O night
O night divine

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees
O hear the angels’ voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine, O night divine
O yes it was
It is the night of our dear saviours birth
O night divine

Need more Christmas spirit? — Read our Christmas Stories (in English and in Russian)

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