Festive songs and images courtesy of Youtube. Copyright retained by video producers.
The first known Christmas hymns may be traced to fourth century Rome.
In the ninth and tenth centuries, the Christmas “Sequence” or “Prose” was introduced in Northern European monasteries and in the twelfth century the Parisian monk Adam of St. Victor began to derive music from popular songs, introducing something closer to the traditional Christmas carol.
In the thirteenth century, in France, Germany, and particularly, Italy, under the influence of Francis of Assisi a strong tradition of popular Christmas songs in regional native languages developed. Christmas carols in English first appear in a 1426 work by John Awdlay who lists twenty five “caroles of Cristemas”, sung by groups of wassailers or carol singers. The songs we know specifically as carols were originally communal songs sung during celebrations like harvest tide as well as Christmas. It was only later that carols begun to be sung in church, and to be specifically associated with Christmas.