Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Caroling, caroling through the town

So here are some funny words that you mostly only see in Christmas Carols (you might see them in other hymns, and ye olde English but do you really go around saying them all the time?) and what they mean.

Hither - as in "Come hither" or "Hither page, and stand by me" - To or toward this place
Thither - a bit rare than hither - "When we bear them thither" - To or toward that place - see the difference.
Whither - " Pray, wither sailed those ships all three" -  To which place - getting the pattern now?

Oblations -  "We to the Christ-child, bring our hearts' oblations" - A thing presented or offered to God or a god -  we are offering Jesus our hearts
Wassail/wassailing - "Here we come a-wassailing, among the leaves so green" or "And to you, your wassail too" - the practice of going round to your neighbours and toasting them good health and possibly begging for scraps.
Troll - "Troll the ancient Yule tide carol" - not the internet kind. To sing loudly, freely or in a carefree way.
Cloven - "Still through the cloven skies they come," - split or divided (like the Devil's hooves)
Lo - "For lo! the days are hastening on" - Look, see, behold
Exultation - "Sing in exultation" - The act of exulting; lively joy at success or victory, or at any advantage gained; rapturous delight; triumph

And here's a picture of us all caroling at my parent's house, with all our friends and relations - it's a yearly tradition.

P.S. If I get to 50 readers, I'm going to do something super special. If you can't wait, you could create 2 phony blogger accounts and give me a bump. *wink*


Mrs Cleaver said...

Isn't it funny how you may sing these words for years without even know what some of them mean.I knew what a lot of those mean but there were a few i only had a vague or confused notion of so thanks for the informative post :)
When i was a child we always went to midnight mass & sang carols & sometimes we would all go out as a congregation & sing door to door but that was a long time ago.I remember our priest liked us to sing happy birthday to Jesus :D

Anonymous said...

What a great tradition! I personally hardly ever understand the words in songs but I loved seeing them with their definitions in this post

PS - I would have sworn on my life that it was Here we come a sailing


weenie_elise said...

Here we come a-sailing works to although it's a little hard to sail in a forest

Roxanne said...

I really loved this post. It's so funny how we just accept music and don't really READ what we're saying!

Many is the time that I have hummed the tunes and had no idea what the title of a song is.

(Off to create an alternate identity because I want to see what 50 followers will bring forth. Oh, you were just kidding? Shoot.)