Christmas | Holiday

8 Unusual Stories Behind Your Favorite Christmas Songs

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In the month of December we hear them in stores, on the radio and at your kid's Christmas concert, but have you ever stopped to think about the stories behind your favorite Christmas carols.

While some may seem obvious, the stories surrounding these festive song aren't always.

Here are eight unusual stories about popular Christmas songs, that you didn't know.

1. "Jingle Bells"

"Dashing through the snow, In a one-horse open sleigh, O'er the fields we go, Laughing all the way"

While this is a popular Christmas jingle, this song wasn't written for the holiday at all. Originally written in 1857,  it was entitled “One Horse Open Sleigh,” and was meant for Americans to sing at Thanksgiving.

"Jingle Bells" was also the first song to be sung in space by Apollo 11 astronauts.

2. "12 Days of Christmas"

"On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me,A partridge in a pear tree."

Do you remember trying to memorize the lyrics to this Christmas carol in school? It could be tricky, trying to remember how many "maids a milking" there are.

Originally crafted as a memory game, the most popular version of this song appeared in a children's book in 1780. In the 90s, a Canadian suggested that each of the items represented elements of the Catholic faith, to which he later admitted he made up.

3. "Silent Night"

"Silent Night, Holy Night, All is calm, And all is bright... Sleep in heavenly peace"

This song dates back to 1914 during World War I. On December 24, a cease fire occurred up and down the Western Front. For the one night, the soliders put down their weapons, played football and sang carols. The famous story references English and German troops taking turns singing the song in the trenches.

4. "O Holy Night"

"O holy night the stars are brightly shining, It is the night of our dear Savior's birth, Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth"

This classic Christmas carol also brought about a truce during the Franco-Prussian War. Unlike "Silent Night", this song was actually controversial. It was banned in France after it was discovered that it was written by a Jew, Adolphe Adams, and an atheist socialist, Placide Cappeau.

The song still remained popular and on Christmas Eve in 1871, a French solider was said to have sung the song on the battlefield. A German responded with a song from Martin Luther. Fighting stopped for 24 hours after this.

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