Today, I found out. From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality, which the children could remember.
So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I�found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol...so pass it on if you wish.
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