Deck the Halls is a 16th century secular Christmas Carol of Welsh origin. It wasn’t always associated with Christmas. The melody comes from a winter song called “Nos Galan,” which is actually about New Year’s Eve.
To deck the halls means to decorate for Christmas and it’s origins are thought to come from countries in Europe. Germany is credited with starting this Christmas tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. Some historians have discovered that some of these European and American Christmas traditions actually come from some customs of ancient Egyptian culture predating Christianity by thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians decked out their homes in green palms on the winter solstice to celebrate the sun god Ra’s recovery from the ills of winter, which they believed symbolized life conquering death. In fact, similar traditions were practiced by the ancient Druids as well as the Romans.
Decorating our Christmas tree and the house was always a fun activity growing up as a kid. In the early years we always had a fake tree then as we got older our parents opted for the real thing.
My favorite parts of my performance of ‘Deck the Halls’ is at the 1:25 mark, and I especially love the ending where things begin to slow before the final cadences in the upper register of the piano.
Listen to ‘Deck the Halls’ on Spotify HERE
Listen to ‘Deck the Halls’ on Pandora HERE
Listen to ‘Deck the Halls’ on Apple Music HERE
Want to learn how to play ‘Deck the Halls’ on your piano or keyboard? Sheet Music available HERE.