Tis the Season To Be Jolly

From Wikipedia, the veritable Fruitcake of the internet: ( mostly good, a few nuts)

“Deck the Halls” (originally titled “Deck the Hall“) is a traditional Christmas carol. The melody is Welsh, dating back to the sixteenth century,[1]and belongs to a winter carol, “Nos Galan“, while the English lyrics, written by the Scottish musician Thomas Oliphant, date to 1862.”

I frankly love this Christmas Carol, although I find that many people have difficulty with the imagery associated with this song.

Deck the hall with boughs of holly,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
‘Tis the season to be jolly,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Fill the meadcup, drain the barrel,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Troul the ancient Christmas carol,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

See the flowing bowl before us,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Strike the harp and join the chorus.
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Follow me in merry measure,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
While I sing of beauty’s treasure,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

Holly was a traditional decoration at a time when you could really only use what was available to you right outside your front door. Christmas decorations – holly, ivy, evergreen boughs, were put up at a maximum of three days before Christmas.

“Fill the mead up, drain the barrel” is fairly self evident if you are familiar with medieval literature such as Sir Howard Pyle was fond of writing. This is talking about an excess of drinking. “Making merry at Christmas.” was understood as taking the liberty of over-indulging in wine and spirits at Christmastime.

“Troul the ancient Christmas carol” is what we think we are accomplishing when we remember the lyrics to this song. We are singing the really old, ancient Christmas songs. Our modern minds now categorize old by what technology a time period had. Our ancestors had a longer view. Their ancient Christmas songs would have gone back to the 1400s or so. Troul meant to quote or repeat.

And then, yes the next stanza is an ode to drinking. We seem to think this is a Decorating song, when if we were to re- write it in the type of familiar language we use today, we would quickly understand this is not in fact about decking halls. In fact, far from decking his halls, the author is happy to see the decorations go up, merely as an indication that it is about time to start the revelry.

In fact, if someone in 2021 were to write it , they might say “Hey! They’re putting up the treeeeeeee, it’s time to start drinking for meeeeeee. “

Hardly an apt way to celebrate the birth of the Savior of all mankind.

I must admit; knowing this does not lesson my enthusiasm for the song one iota and I plan to sing it quite loudly when hanging my Christmas wreath this year.

Because , the first line of the song is the one we all know and love anyway.

Fa la la la la . La la , la la.

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