The ringing of bells in general and church bells, in particular, has been something of a Christmas tradition.
In the UK the four largest bells are rung in the final hour before midnight on Christmas Eve, and all the bells are rung on the completion of mass at midnight.
In the Roman Catholic Church the ringing of Christmas Bells is one of only two times in the year that mass is held at midnight (the other being on Easter Saturday to finish on Easter Sunday.
History of Ringing Xmas Bells
The ringing of Christmas Bells at midnight on Christmas Eve dates back to the early centuries of the Church when many worshippers believed that Jesus was born at midnight though there has never been any evidence to show what time of day or night he was born.
Most Christian denominations have a service on Christmas Eve. Though outside of the Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican or Lutheran traditions they do not include mass or communion in the service.
Christmas bells are being rung to celebrate the birth of Christ and mark the start of his birthday.
Midnight mass in some Catholic countries such as France and Spain is considered the one church service everyone should attend, and only the services at Easter being considered anywhere near as important.
Christmas with Christmas bells seems almost as traditional as singing carols, exchanging cards and gifts, or the opening of Advent calendars.
The ringing of the bells certainly lets people know that Christmas Day has begun. In Victorian times the church bells were not the only Christmas bells, which were rung.
Carol singers would often ring little handbells to go along with the singing, and sometimes instead of the singing.
Christmas Bells in Current Times
These days perhaps the most well-known reference to Christmas bells is the song Jingle Bells. Ironically this song was written about the ring of bells at Thanksgiving instead of the chiming of Christmas bells.
It was altered to a Christmas song as the words were thought to be suitable about Christmas bells instead of Thanksgiving.
It was published in 1857 under the title of One Horse Open Sleigh. It was first recorded as early as 1889.
To be a better fit as a Christmas song it was reworded and the second verse was left out as it referred to the sleigh being crashed.
Jingle Bells was written by James Lord Pierpont although there is disagreement as to when and where he wrote the song.
Some have claimed that it was written in Medford as early as 1850, while others claim it was written as late as 1875 when Pierpont was living in Savannah, Georgia.
Christmas bells have also been transmitted from space as astronauts sang Jingle Bells complete with sleigh bells and harmonica to mission control in 1965.
Whether it is church bells rung on Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning or the countless versions of Jingle Bells there are many ways that people get to hear bells at Christmas time.
It is a Christmas tradition that looks set to continue for many years to come.
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Main Points About Traditions of Christmas Bells
- Bell announced the coming of a person or a special event. The bells toll both at good times and at bad times.
- Bells Have been associated with Christmas for a very long time. It can be traced back to the pagan winter celebration.
- In those times, noisemakers used bells to scare evil spirits and chase away demons.
- Over time, it was incorporated into church services and church events. It was used to call people to religious events and to make announcements.
- It was used even for church services held on Christmas day to herald the start of service and the birth of Jesus. Today, it is used as designs and as ornamental decorations.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Traditions of Christmas Bells
Even if the song “Jingle Bells” has helped to associate bells and especially Church Bells, with Christmas nowadays, they have been associated with Christmas for a long time, thanks to the Anglican and Catholic Church.
As the church day starts at sunset, service after sunset on Christmas Eve is the first service of the day, and churches that have a bell ring it to announce the start of this service.
Word Cloud for Traditions of Christmas Bells
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Traditions of Christmas Bells. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.