Blog Post

Music Monday – We Wish You a Merry Christmas

 

What other song could I choose, for today?

I’m sure we’ve all sung this song many times, but I found the history of this song interesting.

No one knows who wrote it, or even when. There is no record of the song in any of the biographical archives. It’s missing from all the great collections of songs and carols, including the great anthologies of Sylvester (1861).

It was made popular by Arthur Warrell, who wrote an arrangement for his own University of Bristol Madrigal Singers to perform in a Christmas concert. That same year, his elaborate four-part arrangement was published by Oxford University Press under the title “A Merry Christmas: West Country traditional song”.

Caroling was popular in the 1800s and early 1900s. People would often go to the homes of the wealthy in order to trade songs for food. Street boys and girls often relied on this for a daily meal. Often, the singers were given treats with bread, beer and, if lucky, strips of dried meat or other leftovers. During Holidays, cakes, and/or other treats would often be given.

It is thought that this song came about for these purposes;  the third and fourth verses especially lead us to the following conclusion. 

“Now bring us some figgy pudding” and “We won’t go until we get some” may not have been playful words, as we sing them today, but a desperate cry of a hungry child. We may never know the full truth of those words, but we do know that hungry children did, literally, “sing for their supper,” (which is where that saying came from).

Even back then, the act of feeding the homeless was more prominent, during Christmas.

 

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

 

We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year.

Good tidings we bring for you and your kin,
Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Now bring us some figgy pudding,
Now bring us some figgy pudding,
Now bring us some figgy pudding,

and a cup of good cheer.

REFRAIN

For we all like figgy pudding,
We all like figgy pudding,
For we all like figgy pudding,
So bring some out here

And we won’t go until we’ve got some
We won’t go until we’ve got some
We won’t go until we’ve got some

so bring some out here.

REFRAIN 

 

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……..*`*♥MERRY CHRISTMAS
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