The History of Christmas Music
The Christmas season brings with it the bright expectations of unified love, hope and joy all over the world. For those rooted in the Christian faith, they consider this as a time to look back on the time their Saviour was born and would then bring salvation to all mankind. As Erma Bombeck put it, it’s a time for the adults to become children too. Although the Christmas time has been largely characterized by stressful last-minute shopping, the real spirit of Christmas ought to be one of reckless joy.
Besides the Christmas buzz comes the wonderful songs that set the joyful atmosphere. Unlike in the past where Christmas songs would be based on the shepherds’ wait upon the Saviour’s birth, modern-day Christmas songs have changed their themes. It all dates back from the recent 20th-century hits such as Cool Yule by Louis Armstrong to the days when stories about Santa Claus began dominating during Christmas. Santa Claus features most of modern-day Christmas songs which describe him carrying a bag full of gift-toys while riding his reindeer sleigh.
The stories of Santa and Christmas began at Netherlands and Belgium, through one bishop known as Saint Nicolas. St. Nicolas, who was majorly referred to as “The Friendly Saint”, had earned himself nicknames such as “Sinterklaas” or “De Goede Sint”. The annual feast in honour of Sinterklaas was celebrated on December 6th through exchanging of gifts. During the 16th to 17th century period, protestant Christians changed the gift bringing culture and based it on the born Saviour, “ChristKindl”. Dates for this effectively changed to the 24th of December.
The origin of the renown “Santa Claus” title from “Sinterklaas” sprung from the North American British colonies. Following this title change was the change in apparel from that of a bishop to the famous red and white fluffy suit. A book was published in New York, 48 years later, with the title, “A New Year’s present, to the little ones from five to twelve”. An old poem entitled, “Old Santeclaus” is tucked away in its pages, depicting him as an old man surprising children with goodies.
St. Nick is also featured in another poem entitled, “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, which many have known as “The Night before Christmas”. The poem highlights the common traits known about Santa which include riding on a sleigh and landing on roofs. Santa then finds a way into the house and into the children’s room through the house chimney with his bag full of toys. St. Nick is depicted as a well-fed, ever-joyful old guy with a round belly that resembled wobbling jelly in a bowl whenever he laughed.
The foundations of modern-day Christmas music are indeed far from far-fetched.