Advent Calendar Day 8: Christmas Carols – Do You Understand What They Say?

Advent Calendar Day 8: Christmas Carols – Do You Understand What They Say?

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Az angolul énekelt karácsonyi dalok szövege néhol igencsak furcsa. Fedjünk fel pár titkot a szavaikkal kapcsolatban, a videóban pedig sok-sok karácsonyi dalt hallhatsz 2,5 percbe összesűrítve. Hányat ismersz fel közülük?

Wassail

"Here we go a-wassailing among the leaves so green!" If you've ever heard a caroler sing this phrase and thought, "What the heck is a wassail?", you're not alone!

From the carol, "Here We Come A-wassailing," a wassail is "a toast made to wish good health." And so, in this carol, they seem to be toasting good health quite a lot. More specifically though, this is an Old English toast, adopted from the Old Norse ves heill meaning "be healthy!"

Wenceslaus

"Good King Wenceslaus looked out on the feast of Stephen." Good King WHO?

Wenceslaus the First was a duke of what is now the Czech Republic. Sainted and dubbed "king" shortly after his death in 935, he was known for his piety and generosity to the poor. The carol "Good King Wenceslaus" is traditionally sung on Saint Stephen's Day (Dec. 26), which honors one of the earliest Catholic saints. The carol depicts a cold Saint Stephen's night in which Wenceslaus journeys into the snow to help an old man.

Tidings

If you've ever been baffled by a caroler bringing you "tidings of comfort and joy," (from the carol "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen") your confusion ends here.

Derived from the Old English tidan, meaning "to happen," a tiding is "a new piece of information or an announcement of an event." You can think of it as news rolling in on the tide. So, whether your carolers come in on a surfboard or a sleigh, the correct response to tidings is "thank you."

Figgy pudding

Have carolers ever camped out on your porch demanding figgy pudding, making threats like "we won't go until we get some!" Don't be alarmed. You're not caught in a protest; it's just another old Christmas carol: "We Wish You A Merry Christmas."

A distant cousin of the fruit cake, figgy pudding is "a traditional fig-based cake common in England in the 1600s." The carol re-popularized the dessert in the 1900s, and now countless carolers ask for it every year. (However, there is little known about anyone actually receiving any.)

Holly

Holly is actually a tree with glossy green leaves, whitish flowers, and red berries. From American Holly to English Holly, the boughs or "branches" of this tree are a traditional Christmas decoration.

The word itself is a shortening of the Old English holegn, another name for the same evergreen plant, which has represented rebirth on the European continent for centuries. And now, the decoration and evergreen plant will live on through the lyrics of "Deck the Halls" forever.

Yuletide

"Troll the ancient Yuletide carol, Fa la la la la la la la!" Confusing . . . . As is the case with tidings, the yuletide signifies the coming of the holiday season. Yule comes from the Old Norse word jol, relating to the pre-Christian winter feast. After the advent of Christianity, the term was adopted into Old English as a word to represent the Christmas season.

And, what about troll? Well, this type of troll is referring to the way a person walks, so in this case, this song is talking about strolling around singing a Christmas song.

Low

The traditional Christmas carol, "Away in the Manger" starts off pretty straightforward: "Away in a manger no crib for a bed, The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head."

But, as the song continues, there are some words leaving us to scratch our heads . . . like this line: "the cattle are lowing, the baby awakes." What exactly does lowing mean here? Lowering their heads? Feeling "low?" Well, actually, this term simply means the same as mooing.

Noel

Sure, we all know the song, "The First Noel." And, chances are most of us sing along to it every time it's played. But, does anyone know what a noel actually is?

"The First Noel the angel did say / Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;

In fields as they lay, keeping their sheep / On a cold winter's night that was so deep."

Does that help at all? Yeah, we didn't think so. Well, guess what? Noel is actually a very simple word meaning "the Christmas season" or simply "a Christmas carol."

Bobtails

"Jingle Bells" is one of those happy-go-lucky holiday tunes that everyone knows and loves. And, who wouldn't with these fun lyrics?

"Dashing through the snow / On a one horse open sleigh

O'er the fields we go / Laughing all the way."

Nothing about these lyrics has us questioning what we're singing. We totally get it's about a sleigh ride in the snow, and we are laughing our butts off in the process. But, what about the next line: "Bells on bobtails ring"?

What now? Bobtail is defined as "an animal that has had its tail cropped." So, it seems the song is referring to a "horse with bells on its harness."

Parson Brown

Nothing defines Christmas quite like a fresh blanket of snow. And, the song, "Winter Wonderland" could prepare us for the blizzard of the century with its happy lyrics. Even those who aren't snow lovers can appreciate how catchy this song is. However, there is a section that tends to trip up a lot of listeners:

"In the meadow we can build a snowman / Then pretend he is Parson Brown"

Who is Parson Brown, and why would anyone want to name a snowman after him? Well, it seems that there is no one famous by that name, but a parson is actually a minister that can perform marriage ceremonies.

Once bitten, twice shy

Although not as happy-go-lucky as other holiday songs, "Last Christmas" is a favorite. Who doesn't like a sad, down-in-the-dumps love song now and then?

"Last Christmas, I gave you my heart / But the very next day you gave it away

This year, to save me from tears / I'll give it to someone special."

That's right, try, try again! But, many want to know what Wham! is talking about with the lyric: "once bitten, twice shy." Well, it's an idiom that refers to getting hurt by someone and not wanting it to happen again. Better to be shy the second time around, for sure.

Heel

Who doesn't love the Grinch during the holidays? He's cranky, hairy, and green, but grows a heart so big it's impossible to hate him. And the song, "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" is a fun one to sing no matter how old you are:

"You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch / You really are a heel."

But we have to ask, what is a heel exactly? This song can't be talking about the part of a foot, right? Nope, this is an old phrase used to describe a "bad or selfish man." And, we won't even go into other lyrics from this song like "You're a three-decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce." Yummy.

Gloria Hosanna in excelsis

If you're staring at these few words completely mystified, you aren't the only one. "Gloria Hosanna in excelsis" is from the traditional Christmas song, "Ding Dong Merrily On High," and is pretty darn confusing:

"Ding dong merrily on high / In heav'n the bells are ringing:

Ding dong! verily the sky / Is riv'n with angel singing

Gloria Hosanna in excelsis! / Gloria Hosanna in excelsis!"

Actually, there are plenty of words that look a little strange, including riv'n. Well, after some research riv'n seems to mean "to split," while the expression, Gloria Hosanna in excelsis, means "Glory! Hosanna in the highest," with hosanna being "an expression of praise."

Round yon virgin

"Silent Night" is a favorite to sing, and it's easy to see why. The lyrics have a certain peacefulness that only this season can bring:

"Silent Night / Holy Night

All is calm / All is bright."

But, then we slip into a few confusing words like, round yon virgin. Hmm. Well, let's break it down. The word round seems to mean "to go around," and the word yon is short for yonder. So (according to Slate), this phrase basically translates to, "Everything is calm and bright around that virgin mother over there and her child."

source: dictionary.com

What strange word is missing from the carols? Do you remember?

1. "Here we go ...... among the leaves so green!"

2. "Good King looked out on the feast of Stephen."

3. "...... of comfort and joy"

4. "Troll the ancient ...... carol, Fa la la la la la la la!"

5. "the cattle are ......, the baby awakes."

6. "The First ...... the angel did say / Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay.”

7. "...... through the snow / On a one horse open sleigh.”

8. "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch / You really are a ...... ."

9. “Ding dong! verily the sky / Is ...... with angel singing.”

10. “Round ……Virgin, Mother, Mother and Child.”

Key

1. a-wassailing

2. Wenceslaus

3. tidings

4. Yuletide

5. lowing

6. Noel

7. Dashing

8. heel                                              

9. riv'n

10. yon

Vocabulary

wassail

ivás valakinek az egészségére

caroler

karácsonyi dalokat éneklő ember

toast

tószt

feast

ünnep

duke

herceg

to saint

szentté avatni

piety

vallásosság

generosity

nagylelkűség

to depict

leírni, ábrázolni

to be baffled

nem érteni, nem tudni hová tenni valamit

tidings

hír

comfort

vigasztalás

to derive

származni

announcement

bejelentés

sleigh

szán

porch

tornác

threat

fenyegetés

protest

tüntetés

fig

füge

glossy

fényes

whitish

fehéres

bough

ág, gally

rebirth

újjászületés

Yuletide

karácsonyi időszakhoz kötődő

pre-Christian

kereszténység előtti

to represent

jelképezni

to stroll

sétálni

manger

jászol

straightforward

lényegre törő

to scratch our heads

vakarni a fejünket

cattle

jószág

to low

bőgni

to awake

felébredni

to moo

bőgni

Noel

karácsony időszaka

shepherd

pásztor

to dash

lendületesen menni, haladni

laughing our butts off

majd megszakadni a nevetéstől

bobtail

levágott farkú állat

to crop

megkurtítani, levágni

harness

hám

blizzard

hóvihar

to appreciate

értékelni

catchy

fülbemászó

meadow

rét

to pretend

úgy tenni, mintha

parson

pap, plébános

minister

lelkész

Once bitten, twice shy.

Aki egyszer megégette magát, vigyáz a tűzzel.

cranky

extrém, excentrikus

mean

undok

heel

önző, rossz ember

sauerkraut

savanyú káposzta

toadstool

mérges gomba

darn confusing

abszolút zavaros

to split

elszakadni, elhasadni

praise

dicsőítés, Isten dicsérete

virgin

szűz

yonder

amott

Nehézségi szint:
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