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Old Christmas Songs

Christmas carols are widely believed to have originated as Latin hymns. These religious hymns can be traced back to as early as the fourth century in Rome. These songs include the lesser known "Veni redemptor gentium", written by the Archbishop of Milan, and "Corde natus ex Parentis" ("Of the Father's Love Begotten"),written by Spanish poet, Prudentius. These Christmas hymns are not commonly heard, but "Corde natus ex Parentis" can still be heard in churches today.

Later, during the 13th century, Christmas carols started emerging. However, it is not until much later that these carols were sung in churches. The carols that are written around this time are not commonly known in today's world, with the exception of "Adeste Fidelis" ("O Come all ye faithful"), which is believed by some to have been written in the 13th century. Others, however, debate that this carol was written by a man named John Francis Wade in the mid 18th century.

One of the oldest known Christmas carols in English history is "The Boar's Head Carol", which was first seen in print in 1521. This carol was sung during an old English tradition in which a boar's head was carried into the room and displayed on the table as a centre dish. Another Christmas carol that is very old is The "Huron Carol". This hymn is a popular Christmas carol in Canada, especially around Lake Huron, where it originated. It was written in 1643 by a French missionary by the name of Jean de Brébeuf. This old hymn was originally titled, "Jesous Ahatonhia" and tell the story of the nativity.  
 
The 19th century gave us many traditional Christmas carols that are still heard today. The first printing of "The First Noel", "I Saw Three Ships", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", and "Hark The Herald Angels Sing", were in 1833 in William B. Sandys' work, Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern. This work helped popularized Christmas carols which caused many composers to write their own religious hymns.
 
Christmas carols have been apart of many Christian's lives since they were a small child. Many people have grown into adults listening to these wonderful songs during the Christmas season. All of us have our favourites, and new Christmas songs are being incorporated into the holiday year after year. We can look forward to singing these old Christmas songs, along with new holiday tunes, as we grow old with our loving families.