THE iconic Christmas carol Jingle Bells has a mysterious history that could put it in line with another holiday.
First published under The One Horse Open Sleigh in 1857, Jingle Bells was written as a Thanksgiving song before becoming a Christmas staple.
Jingle Bells is attributed to Medford, Massachusetts resident James Lord Pierpoint.
The young man wrote the song in 1850 after being inspired by the Salem single-horse sleigh races.
It makes sense how the lyrics could be reconciled with the wintry Christmas season, but one theory says otherwise.
Many believe Pierpoint wrote the song for a Thanksgiving program at his father’s Sunday school, American Music Preservation reported.
If you look closely at the lyrics, you will see that there is no direct reference to Christmas.
While some say the carol was written in a Massachusetts tavern, Georgians say otherwise, as it was copyrighted in 1857 while he was living in Savannah.
The singer-songwriter, born in 1822, has an exciting history behind him.
Although he was born into a New England Unitarian family that had taken strong anti-slavery stances, he fought with the Confederate Army against their will.
He joined the war after moving to Georgia to work as an organist in a church.
While in the Army, he wrote several songs supporting the cause, including “Strike for the South” and “We Conquer or Die.”
Although the song was said to have been written in 1850, it took a while for it to gain popularity.
In 1864, the Salem Evening News ran a story about what was now called the Jingle Bells, leading Pierpoint to claim ownership.
The first recordings of the melody were documented on music boxes and other mechanical musical devices.
In 1898, the Edison Male Quartet was the first vocal group to record the song.
Several other singers performed the song in the early 20th century, but it wasn’t until 1943 that it really took off.
Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters created the recording and eventually became the iconic version that most Americans know and love today.
Although the Thanksgiving Sunday school theory remains one of the most popular, some experts have criticized it.
Margaret W. DeBolt, a Savannah historian, claimed the lyrics were too racy to be performed in a church in the 1850s.
“The references to courtship wouldn’t have been allowed in a Sunday school program at the time, like ‘Do it while you’re young,'” she said, according to Snopes.
Despite the ambiguous story, almost everyone agrees that the nostalgic image of driving through snowy fields with Christmas on the horizon makes it a true staple of today’s Christmas season.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6744068/jingle-bells-thanksgiving-song-history/ People are now realizing that Jingle Bells was a Thanksgiving song by another name before it became a Christmas staple