12 festive facts about Christmas carols, including an inspiring WW1 truce and pub folk songs

It turns out that the younger generation isn't singing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to Christmas carols!

More than a third of people get the words to Silent Night wrong, thinking it's "Round John virgin, mother and child" rather than "Round yon virgin, mother and child," as we revealed yesterday.

Only about a quarter of the people can hum the tune to O Come All Ye Faithful.

However, the majority of respondents in the same poll agreed that traditional carols are an important part of the holiday season.

Kim Carr shares 12 days of Christmas, both joyful and triumphant, as well as facts about carols.

Christmas carols first appeared in the 18th century, with Silent Night being broadcast for the first time in 1818.

When mice destroyed his church organ and he had no other way to entertain parishioners, Austrian Catholic priest Joseph Mohr set about turning his poem Stille Nacht into a carol, according to legend.

The Christmas carol service began in 1880, when Bishop of Truro Edward White Benson, fed up with locals getting wasted on Christmas Eve, decided to lure them away from the pub and into the church.

Previously, carols were sung as folk songs in the pub.

On Christmas Eve 1914, during World War One, the song Silent Night inspired a cease-fire.

The Germans were singing Stille Nacht to the British troops.

They responded by singing the lyrics in English.

The troops eventually emerged from the trenches to play football.

Hark The Herald Angels Sing began as "Hark how all the welkins rings" when written by Charles Wesley, co-founder of Methodism.

George Whitefield, a preacher, changed it to what we know today.

The angels who appear to the shepherd say their news, not sing it, which upsets Welsey. O Come, O Come Emmanuel was written in Latin and translated into English by priest and scholar John Mason Neale in 1851.

He also wrote Good King Wenceslas, making him one of the most joyous clergymen in history.

However, the title character, Good King Wenceslas, was neither a king nor named Wenceslas.

Vaclav, the Duke of Bohemia from the 10th century, was the inspiration for the carol.

His mother-in-law had been strangled, so he exiled her and spent his time helping the poor.

Placide Cappeau, a French wine salesman, was commissioned by his parish priest to write a festive poem to commemorate the renovation of the church organ in 1847.

He composed O Holy Night.

The English poet Christina Rossetti wrote In The Bleak Midwinter, while Cecil Frances Alexander, a children's poet who also wrote the hymn All Things Bright And Beautiful, wrote Once In Royal David's City.

And O Little Town Of Bethlehem was written by Rector Phillips Brooks, who was inspired by the view of Jesus' birthplace from the hills above while on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

It's not just Silent Night that has the British baffled.

We think it's "Deck the halls with bras of holly" rather than "boughs of holly," according to polls.

In We Wish You A Merry Christmas, some people believe it's "good tidings we bring, to you and your king" rather than "kin."

While some believe Joy To The World's "And make the nations prove" should be sung as "prudes," others believe it should be sung as "prudes."

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