（Contributed by Lala）
Caroling is a Christmas tradition that has been enjoyed by many people in the West, for many years. Caroling is achieved by a group of singers, who walk together through the community, knocking on people’s doors to serenade the homeowner by singing Christmas carols. Caroling, is originally known as and still regarded as, wassailing. The word wassailing is an English word derived from: ves heill, which means “be well”, in the old Norse language. The original concept of caroling or wassailing, was that common folks would spread greetings of good health and cheer, throughout their community. It was sort of like receiving a Christmas card that sings songs to you. The carolers’ intentions were to sing about good things, with the hope of receiving donations of money or food and drinks. Long ago, homeowners would give treats, such as cookies and brandy to the carolers.
In modern times, carolers may not be given anything for their singing except applause. Yet there are homeowners who appreciate hearing the Christmas songs and if the singers are excellent, they may receive small gifts of money for their efforts, or even Christmas treats such as candy canes or other sweets.
Caroling is considered by some people, to have its roots in the Pagan celebration called Yule, which is also known as the Winter Solstice. By the time of the 5th century, caroling was associated with Christianity. However, it wasn’t until the 13th century, when St. Francis of Assisi, introduced the more joyful melodies and upbeat songs, that we recognize today. Some historians say that it was Martin Luther, a German religious reformer, who was a monk and a composer born in 1483, that promoted caroling throughout the Western World.
Although, there is a controversy that contests this belief, saying that Luther was not the originator of caroling, even though it is a known fact that Luther wrote many hymns that have become some of the mainstays of Christmas carols. At the height of the controversy, is a poem that Luther wrote for his children, that many refer to as, Luther’s Cradle Song or Luther’s Cradle Hymn which has lyrics that are very familiar to our modern world.
Coincidentally, these lyrics written by Luther over 400 years ago, sound very much like the lyrics for a song called Away In A Manager, that was accredited to other composers in 1883.
Stayed tuned for Part II of Caroling by Lala.