Story of the First Christmas Kept Fresh by a Famous Carol
The Christmas carol “The First Noel” dates from as far as the 13th century and originated in the South West, England. In its earliest form, the Christmas carol “The First Noel” dates from as far as the 13th century and originated in the South West, England. In its earliest form it was a Cornish folk song. Until in 1833, the form that we’re familiar with was printed in Carols Ancient and Modern (1823) and Gilbert and Sandys Carols (1833) by William Sandys. Davies Gilbert’s rearrangement and added lyrics appeared in Hymns and Carols of God. The word origin of Noel can be traced to the Modern English synonym for Christmas or possibly the French word for Christmas, Noel. The contemporary form of the traditional Christmas carol is now a four-part hymn. This is courtesy of the English composer John Stainer, which he published in Carols, New and Old (1871).
The tune of “The First Noel” could be likened to hymns sung in an English parish church, particularly the West gallery, where the choir would be seated. It seems to fit the variety of sacred music, supported with a few instruments that maintained the pitch within the choir. The music sometimes was intended to mimic the tune of the choir, to double the volume.
The poetic lyrics depict the events of Jesus, the Messiah’s birth in Bethlehem. This is considered the first-ever Christmas celebration, with the visitation of the Magi, and the shepherds. Jesus the Messiah’s birth was the fulfillment of God’s promise to deliver his people. And throughout the years, the celebrations of Christmas have included “The First Noel” as a staple in playlists, whether in homes, in malls, or church. The American singer Johnny Mathis included “The First Noel” in his album Merry Christmas. American country music darling Dolly Parton sang it during her TV Christmas Special (1990) and included it in her album Home For Christmas (1990). Famous people who continued the tradition of singing this favorite carol are Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Mariah Carrey, Josh Groban, Frank Sinatra and the acapella group Pentatonix.