Looking to impress family and friends this holiday with some Christmas trivia? Consider serenading them over turkey dinner with a few verses from the oldest surviving Christmas carols.
According to Joe Lynch of Billboard, there are two candidates for the title of oldest carol - both dating back to the Fourth Century. One was composed by St. Hilary of Poitiers - a.k.a. The Hammer of the Arians, presumably because he sang U Can't Touch This whenever blond parishioners held out their hands for communion.
Sometime after the first celebration of Christmas in 336, St. Hilary wrote the Latin song "Jesus Refulsit Omnium" ("Jesus Illuminates All"), which sounds a lot more like a church hymn than the sort of tune you'd play at home on the piano.
Around the same time, the Christian poet Prudentius - an early proponent of veganism - wrote "Corde natus ex Parentis" ("Of the Father's Love Begotten").
But as with St. Hilary's hymn, Prudentius' Christmas song doesn't lend itself well to family sing-alongs. So if you're looking for an old school carol to belt out with the fam, go with something like "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing," which dates back to 1739.
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