It’s after Thanksgiving, which means the Christmas season is upon us. Which means the Christmas music is upon us. And so yesterday I heard the old standard, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, and listened to the lyrics and thought to myself ‘This is sort of weird.’
The first verse we all know, but the second and third verses take a detour into sheer oddness. I mean, we’ve heard them, but have we listened to them?
Now bring us some figgy pudding, now bring us some figgy pudding,Now bring us some figgy pudding and bring it right here.We won’t go until we get some, we son’t go until we get some.We won’t go until we get some, so bring it right here.
‘We won’t go until we get some?’ Man, how demanding are these carolers?
Pretty demanding. It turns out that early Christmas carolers would show up at the homes of rich people and pretty much demand food. They were partially fueled by wassail, a hot alcoholic punch. And these carolers may have gotten rowdy.
According to David McKillop, who holds the prestigious academic title ‘Senior Vice President of Programming at The History Channel,’ these carolers would end up ‘threatening to throw rocks through the windows of anyone who refused to give them a handout.’ (That’s what he told AOL, anyway)
I guess that tradition remains, in the form of carolers who come collecting for charity and who pretty much must be bribed to get the fuck lost. If even McKillop’s story isn’t completely true, early Christmas carolers were seen as fairly edgy, as Christmas was generally a somber holiday. The Puritans banned it for a while, in fact. Too Catholic, it seems. So the next time somebody gives you shit for inserting Lady Gaga lyrics into your Christmas carols, just tell them they are acting like a real Cromwell, who banned the holiday in Great Britain for a decade.