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Famous Holiday Songs: Decoded Lyrics And Forgotten Verses

Chris Jackson, Getty Images

How many times in your life have you been part of a holiday sing-a-long and even though you know the words you sometimes have no clue what you’re really saying? Or how about at that same sing-a-long when you don’t know any of the words after the first verse and chorus? I’ve been guilty of this many times, so I thought I’d help out everyone else who is as well. Happy holidays!

What do these lyrics mean?

From “Angels, We Have Heard On High,” the line “Gloria, In excelsis deo“- This is a latin term that means “Glory to God in the highest.” “Gloria,” which is also a name, means glory,  “in excelsis” means in the highest and “deo” means deity, which in essence is a supernatural being who is sometimes considered holy or sacred.

From “Silent Night,” the line “Round yon virgin“- Well we all know that Mary was a virgin at the time of Jesus’ birth and some think “round” refers to her belly and “yon” means young, which she was. More so though it means that all the villagers and the three wise men were gathered around Mary and “yon” means yonder, or over there, so they were all around the virgin.

From “O Come All Ye Faithful,” the line “Sing in Exultation”- This just simply means to sing with great joy or emphasis. This can be a tricky word for the kids- it’s not one that’s used everyday.

From “Deck the Halls,” the line “Troll the ancient yuletide carol“- In this line, “troll” means to repeat or sing in succession, “ancient,” as we all knows, means old, and “yuletide carol” means a traditional or seasonal song, in this case, Christmas. Simply put, to sing a Christmas carol over and over again.

From “Winter Wonderland,” the line “And pretend that he is Parson Brown“- This line refers to the snowman in the song. Parson Brown isn’t a famous person, but more literal. A parson was the name that referred to a protestant minister in the time that the song was written, and the children in the song most likely named him “Brown,” to get “Parson Brown.” Giving him the title of “Brown” also allowed for it to rhyme with “town.” This also makes the following line, “He’ll say ‘are you married?’ We’ll say ‘no man, but you can do the job when you’re in town,” a little more understandable.

Top holiday songs with forgotten lyrics

Jingle Bells

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Oh, Come All Ye Faithful

Over the River (and Through the Woods)

The First Noel

What’s your favorite holiday song?


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