Sing Along on the Fifth Day of Christmas

Our sing-along for Tuesday, December 29, is “Deck the Hall”–another song with an interesting past and interesting variations.

  • The “halls” weren’t originally plural. Perhaps that’s because as originally presented, the singers wouldn’t be in any condition to “deck” more than one hall.
  • I’ve always thought that the verb “troll” in the first stanza should be “toll,” as you would toll a bell. But no-o-o-o! Evidently the original Welsh word was “troul,” whose English version “troll” can mean “to sing the parts of [in this case, an “ancient Yuletide carol”] in succession . . . ; also, to sing loudly, freely or in a carefree way.” So “troll” it is.
  • The G-rated lyrics with which we are most familiar come from a cleaned-up version published in the Pennsylvania School Journal of 1877; the original PG-rated lyrics mention a “meadcup” and “quaffing,” and also “beauty’s treasure.” Aha!
  • There’s some question about whether it’s referring to a “Yuletide” or “Christmas” carol (stanza 1) or treasure (stanza 2). Originally this was published as a New Years’ Eve song; the school version referenced Christmas. I’ve gone with “Yuletide,” which refers to a season, not an event.
  • The annoying fa-la-las are evidently some ancient Welsh scat singing. But it wouldn’t be “Deck the Hall” (or “Halls”) without them.
Deck the hall with boughs of holly,
     Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
'Tis the season to be jolly,
     Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Don we now our gay apparel,
     Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Troll the ancient Yuletide carol,
     Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

See the blazing yule before us,
     Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Strike the harp and join the chorus.
     Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Follow me in merry measure,
     Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
While I tell of Yuletide treasure,
     Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

Fast away the old year passes,
     Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses!
     Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Sing we joyous all together,
     Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Heedless of the wind and weather,
     Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

Click here for the recording.

Not sure what this is about? Click here!

Join us at https://lavezzi.us/ on each of the Twelve Days of Christmas to join in this virtual sing-along. Care to be a serial singer? Here you go:

Author: StgCoach

Retired teacher and public education leader. Pastoral musician, community activist, parliamentarian, and photographer.

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