Yuletide Festivity’s Call: "O Come, All Ye Faithful"
Christmas is not complete without someone, or a choir singing "O Come, All Ye Faithful." It is sung everywhere, in churches, schools, public gatherings even in solo performances. This hymn has been a traditional favorite for many churchgoers and Christmas lovers alike.
This hymn's original name was "Adeste Fideles," and it is credited to have been composed in 1744 and 1751, it was published in hymnals. There is no specific author and composer. This Christmas hymn has been attributed to various authors, including St. Bonaventure (13th century), John Francis Wade (1711–1786), John Reading (1645–1692), King John IV of Portugal (1604–1656), and anonymous monks. Wade published the earliest printed version, but the earliest manuscript is associated with King John IV. Another document is attributed to Wade (1751) and is located in Stonyhurst College (Lancashire). Frederick Oakeley (1841) translated the hymn to Latin to English. The hymn has since translated again into other languages.
The hymn is very long. It is so long that omitting verses when it is sung is considered a tradition. The Latin version has only four stanzas. A French Catholic priest Jean-François-Étienne Borderies added Latin three verses, extending the hymn to eight verses. There is another more Latin verse but rarely used.
The standard variant of the hymn was created from the translation of Frederick Oakeley (first four verses) and William Thomas Brooke's (extra three verses). The variant was published in 1852 in Murray's Hymnal.
The hymn's melody also has a highly contested composer. There is no particular person who made the tune. Many sources point to John Francis Wade, but others claim it was from other musicians. These musicians are like John Reading and his son, George Frideric Handel, Christoph Willibald Gluck or the Portuguese Thomas Arne.
Depending on the occasion, some verses will be left out form the arrangement. For example, the eighth anonymous verse is optional to sing at Epiphany. Meanwhile, the last original verse is regularly for Christmas time like mass during Christmas Midnight, Mass at Dawn or Christmas Day Mass.