The Origin of Carol of the Bells

Hark how the bells,

sweet silver bells,

all seem to say,

throw cares away

Christmas is here…

Christmas is coming and again we hear Christmas songs and carols everywhere. Many people remember “Carol of the Bells” from their childhood but not many people are aware of the origin of the tune. Being a global company, with a large tech presence in Kyiv, Ukraine, we have a little bit of insight to share here :) The song “Carol of the Bells” actually originated in Ukraine. Check out all of the fun facts about this great holiday song on Wikipedia. Some highlights from wikipedia below (though there are many more fun facts to learn by reading the site directly):

  • It was composed by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych in 1914 with lyrics by Peter J. Wilhousky.
  • The song is based on a Ukrainian folk chant called “Shchedryk”.
  • The song was first performed by students at Kyiv University in December 1916
  • It was introduced to Western audiences by the Ukrainian National Chorus in 1919
  • It premiered in the United States on October 5, 1921 to a sold-out audience at Carnegie Hall

Here is one of the latest performances by Pentatonix in English:

And here is how it sounds in Ukrainian :

There are many variations of this song, in numerous musical genres that have been composed over the years, but now you know a little bit more about the song’s origins. Now you know that every time you listen to Carol of the Bells, you will experience the sounds of ancient Ukraine.

Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas,

Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas.

On on they send,

on without end,

their joyful tone

to every home.

Ding dong ding… dong!

Andriy Isayev

SPS Technology @spstech