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Old Carols
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Our worship services today are songs and readings and reminiscences. We were asked to sing carols familiar to us as children, but not usually in the musical repertoire today. I contributed this old Swedish carol, often sung as a round:

Yuletide is here, Yuletide is here
Now the holly leaf is green-o;
Easter would come when Yuletide is done,
If Lent didn't fall between-o.

Have any of you ever heard it? It has a bit of the flavor of a joke in it, which is why I loved it as a child.

The Yule festival is Scandinavian, where midwinter is a time of short days and little light. There's a strong possibility that the original sense of Yule as a midwinter festival had much to do with "bringing back the sun" and creating bright, shining, gold or yellow sun- and fire-themed decorations on the tree and related festivities.

It is definitely pre-Christian: the burning of the Yule log, the hanging of mistletoe and boughs of evergreens are all associated with pagan festivals. Easter and Halloween also trace their roots to northern European traditions.

All of this makes the song even more amusing with its final words about Lent, which is at the heart of the Christian myth.

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