Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Carol, from a Celtic word denoting a circular dance accompanied by a song, and at a later period restricted to the song. The idea of a ring is retained by an Italian word of the same derivation,. and denoting a wreath and also a ring dance. At a very early period the word carol became especially associated with the joyous songs which accompanied the observance of Christmas. The carol of Good King Wenceslas, Noel, There was a ship came sailing in, and the carol sung by Amyas Leigh at the siege of Smerwick, which was admiringly listened to by Spenser and Raleigh, are good examples of the Christmas carol. The first printed collection of carols is of 1521, and this contains among others the well-known Boar's Head carol. The Puritans did much to destroy carol-singing with all other forms of mirth, but the Restoration brought back the practice. The churches have now generally adopted them in a special Christmas service, and this has a tendency to let the more jovial kind die out as hardly fitted for present notions of what should take place in church. The most complete collection of carols is that of Sandys (1833). The French have their "Noels"; the Russians are much given to carol-singing, and there are considerable Manx and Welsh collections. The Carnival song, We are beggars struck with blindness, is said to be founded upon an old carol.