We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Album: 100 Favourite Carols (1935)
  • "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" is a traditional English Christmas carol of unknown origin that is believed to date the 16th century. It was sung by children in Victorian times as they went about performing carols door to door on Christmas Eve, hoping for sweet rewards.
  • In the West Country of England, wealthy people of the community traditionally gave Christmas treats to visiting carolers on Christmas Eve. Sometimes they'd cook them "figgy pudding," which was a dessert made from dried fruit (figs, raisins and/or plums) together with butter, sugar, eggs, milk, chopped apples, lemon juice and rind, nuts, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. After mixing all the ingredients, it then required five hours of steaming.

    Figgy pudding was a precursor to the modern-day Christmas pudding, but not as rich. The American equivalent may be a holiday fruit cake. The second verse refers to this:

    Oh, bring us some figgy pudding,
    Oh, bring us some figgy pudding,
    Oh, bring us some figgy pudding,
    And bring it right here
  • "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" was popularized in the 1930s as a result of an arrangement by the Bristol-based composer, conductor and organist Arthur Warrell. He arranged the carol for the University of Bristol Madrigal Singers, and performed it with them in concert on December 6, 1935.
  • Bing Crosby introduced the carol to many across the Atlantic when he recorded it for the 1963 album I Wish You a Merry Christmas. A more folk-friendly version was recorded by John Denver on his 1979 collaborative album with the Muppets.
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