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The Origin of Christmas Music

By: Tiahna Osorio

Christmas season has arrived and Mariah Carey has unthawed from her iceberg to grace us with her presence. But that begs the question of where did Christmas music really come from. While it is common knowledge that Mariah Carey didn’t travel back in time to establish Christmas music, the true origin of Christmas music isn’t common knowledge. To begin, Christmas originates from the Christian Church. The December season is known as an ample holiday time, as shown by the various cultures that take that time for cultural celebrations. With the spread of Christianity, began the spread of Christmas.

The first Hymn ever written is claimed by The New Daily to be called the Angel’s Hymn in 129 AD. Followed by the first official Christmas carol, “Jesus Refulsit Omnium” written in the 4th century in Latin. Later came the more modernly known songs such as “Silent Night” written in 1818 by Joseph Mohr in Austria. It was translated into English about 40 years later. In addition, the song Jingle Bells was written in the 1850s by James Lord Pierpont as a means of celebrating Thanksgiving, in Savannah, Georgia. In addition to this Jingle Bells was the first song played in Space. Followed by that would be the even more modern songs such as “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” and “Run, Run Rudolph”. All of these well-known carols were written by Johnny Marks from 1948 to about the 1970s.

With that, we arrive in the more modern times, and Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is you”, released in 1994 and became a cultural phenomenon quite quickly. Also the modern classic Last Christmas by Wham came out in 1984. Christmas albums continue to be made by various artists as they continue to sell, and are no longer about the religious aspect most of the time. Tending to focus now on well-known Christmas traditions, or spending time with loved ones. Christmas is a cultural phenomenon in the United States and many artists continue to write music for the Holiday. Who knows maybe the next album could contain the next iconic Christmas song!

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