The Secret Why these Christmas Songs Won’t Fade Away. The festival season is heralded by the Christmas Songs you start hearing with the onset of the Month of December and continuing till the end of the year. The wintry period is often the theme of some of these songs. Often the song can be called a Holiday Song rather than a Christmas song the connection between the two beings only incidental.
What makes a song a Christmas Song?
Christmas is an event of great religious significance which virtually changed the old world to what we see today. The significance of Christmas comes with the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ in this world. The hosannas sung by the believers would have been the forerunner to any Merry Christmas Songs. If so the central theme of any Christmas Song should be the nativity of the Lord. The devotional songs and religious-themed songs too are adopted into this group when being sung during the season.
Rightly or wrongly in subsequent times, the Folklore that surrounds the Christmas and Winter Season such as stories related to Santa Claus has been dragged into Christmas Songs. Also, are the traditions related to the Festival of Christmas which some say started as a pagan festival dating back to the period before Christ. Good examples for this would be the Christmas tree, Mistletoe, Twelve days of Christmas, etc.
Now we hear also songs related to Holiday season, wintry themes, personal relationships and emotions too being grouped into this category.
The forerunners of Christmas songs or Christmas Carols as these are referred to more reverently were the Latin verses and chanting used in religious rituals in the early churches. These did not spread to the average man because of the classical language usage. In the 13th century, this trend changed and the use of Christmas Carols written in one’s own language helped these to increase in popularity and spread to a wider circle of people.
Christmas Songs can broadly be classified in to:
- Traditional Christmas Songs
- Popular Christmas Songs
- Seasonal Holiday Songs
- Adopted Christmas Songs
- Novelty songs (which are not even good Holiday songs leaving aside being Christmas Songs!)
Some examples of better known Traditional Christmas Songs are:
- O come all ye faithful
- Silent Night
- Mary’s Boychild
- Joy to the world
- Away in a Manger (and many others)
Among the popular Christmas Songs we find:
- White Christmas
- Santa Claus is coming to Town
- Little Drummer boy
- Jingle Bells
- Let it snow! (And many more)
The categorization of these holiday songs as Christmas Songs is incidental as these certainly fail to qualify as being religious. Mostly the popularity they enjoy is due to these coming among the people through commercial entrainment media.
My friend Joe who is an amateur musician once told me that his all-time favorite song he dares not sing throughout the year because it is a Christmas song! He also told me that every time he hears the strains of this particular Christmas Song (of course this would have been during the festival season) he feels as if some kind of mystique energy form running through his self and it has never failed to move him even once since listening to it first in his childhood.
He was referring to the all-time Great Christmas Song, Silent Night. Originally written in German this eternal seasonal favorite never fails to instill in the listener a sense of awe and tranquility one would feel perhaps only in the presence of the Son of God. Whatever the original German composer was inspired to put down in his own language may or may not have gone into the English version it is difficult to say. But certainly the English Lyricist too sure to have been inspired by the divine hand because the English Song much familiar to many too can move one’s spirit every time you listen to it without fail.
Silent night sung hundred times in hundred different languages or the same language for that matter has the same tranquil effect over and over on the believer and unbeliever alike, the event of the arrival of the message of peace on this Earth!
That is the hallmark of a genuine Christmas Song!