He points out that Christmas offers a golden opportunity to reconnect through music. Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch had nothing on the 17th-century Puritans, who actually banned the public celebration of Christmas in the Massachusetts Bay Colony for an entire generation. The first ‘carols’ had been heard in Europe thousands of years before, the word probably deriving from the French carole, a dance accompanied by singing. The first instrument on which the carol "Silent Night" was played was a guitar. In Scotland the Presbyterians had secured a ban on Christmas celebrations as long ago as 1583, though they had not found it easy to put down snowballing, football, guising, carol-singing and other profane pastimes. Although Cromwell himself did not initiate the banning of Christmas, his rise to power certainly resulted in the promotion of measures that severely curtailed such celebrations. //-->. In the Middle Ages, carols were dances accompanied by singing. The tradition of Christmas carols continued in the UK for another 225 years and only stopped when a new regime came to power. The Victorians were very big fans of Christmas and we actually owe a lot of the carols that we sing today to them. Nowhere, they argued, had God called upon mankind to celebrate Christ’s nativity in such fashion. Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ In The Wind? Christmas carols were banned between 1649 and 1660 in England by Oliver Cromwell who thought that Christmas should be a solemn day. White Christmas by Irving Berlin is the biggest-selling Christmas song of all time. Oliver Cromwell was a Puritan. Since the Middle Ages, Christmas had been celebrated in much the same way as today: 25 December was the high holy day on which the birth of Christ was commemorated, and it kicked off an extended period of merriment, lasting until Twelfth Night on 5 January. Songs such as “Silent Night” and “Joy to the World” have long been considered staples of the annual holiday concerts performed by school bands, orchestras, and choirs. The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at Kings College, Cambridge is recorded by the BBC each year and broadcast throughout the world (Alamy). The giftgiving, public holidays and feasting associated with mid-winter were traditionally held between 11 December and 6 … But this is mere cultural snobbery. It is estimated to have sold approximately 350 million copies on record and sheet music. British Christmas Traditions google_ad_width = 180; It takes place on Christmas Eve and always begins with the carol, 'Once in Royal David's City' sung by a solo chorister. So why are Christmas carols so powerful? The songs are about Jesus and the time when he was born. Christmas Carols Are Banned in the UK 1600s The tradition of Christmas carols continued in the UK for another 225 years and only stopped when a new regime came to power. by Mandy Barrow, ,