Sing Along on the Eighth Day of Christmas

Epiphany is January 6, right? Well, maybe. But in many western countries, Epiphany has been celebrated since 1970 on the Sunday after January 1, and in the Catholic calendar it’s the second Sunday after Christmas. Which means that today–Saturday, January 1–is (in at least one definition) Epiphany Eve.

So in addition to saying Happy New Year, “The First Nowell” seems appropriate today.

Illustration from Bramley and Stainer, Christmas Carols New and Old, London, 1871. Obviously they focused their illustration on the first two verses.

We associate this carol with Christmas, but if you go through the whole thing you’ll see that it takes us to Epiphany, hence my scheduling it today. 1 That becomes especially clear if we sing (as we will) All! Six! Verses!

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  1. Any connection between this hymn choice and the name of our much-loved daughter Noël is purely intentional.

Sing Along on the Seventh Day of Christmas

For the Seventh Day of Christmas, the last day of 2021, our sing-along song is “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” In this recording I’ve used just two familiar English verses, not the Latin “Adeste Fideles,” which is the first verse of the original version of the hymn. The song actually has an astonishing eight Latin verses, some of them almost impossible to sing in English.1

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  1. Interestingly, in the original copy shown here, the familiar Latin invitation “venite, adoremus”–“come, let us adore”–was “venite, adorate”–which, if my recollection of high school Latin is correct, would be a command: “come, adore.”