Originally a medieval dance, accompanied by singing; the name came to designate, especially in England, songs of a semi-sacred nature, used at festival times, particularly Christmas. The crib, the center of a dance, gave rise to the lullaby type, such as the GermanDormi fili” (Sleep, Son). Carols, strictly speaking, date from the 13th century, but they are found as “Noels,” in France, in the 11th century. The most famous is the 12th centuryProse de l’ane” (Hymn of the Ass) sung annually at Beauvais on the feast of the Circumcision.

MLA Citation

  • “carol”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 23 December 2010. Web. 26 January 2022. <>