FAQ for Christmas

The History of Bells and Other Joyous Noisemakers

Held over from pagan times, the people of that era believed that bells and other noisemakers would frighten away evil spirits. As part of the solstice festivals, held in the wintertime, bell-ringing activities were considered a way of mixing fun with the serious intent. Today, the sound of the church bells on Christmas Day, serve to remind us of Christ's birth.

"The time draws near the birth of Christ: The moon is hid, the night is still, The Christmas bells from hill to hill Answer each other in the mist."
- Alfred Lord Tennyson

I Heard the Bells of Christmas
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on December 25, 1864.

(A little piece of trivia. The song Christmas Carol is derived from I Heard the Bells of Christmas. The authors of the song chose to omit two two verses that refer to the Civil War.)

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"

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