’Tis the season: Google celebrates with festive Doodles

23 Dec 2016

Christmas display of carollers. Image: George Sheldon/Shutterstock

As we count down the final few days of Christmas, Google has released its festive Doodle of the year, proclaiming: “’Tis the season”.

When we say this greeting at Christmastime, our minds are immediately taken to that most famous of Christmas songs, Deck the Halls. Its English origins date back to 1862, when the first lyrics in that language appeared.

However, records have shown that the tune itself is considerably older, dating as far back to the 16th century in Wales under the name of Nos Galan.

While the lyrics in Welsh are completely different from that of the English version, what binds the two together – and what shows the medieval past of the song – are the lyrics “Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!”

As it turns out, Deck the Halls/Nos Galan isn’t even the oldest Christmas song still sung today, with one of the oldest known songs being God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.

One day, two Doodles

While it is hard to pinpoint an exact date, it is believed to have originated back to the 1600s as part of a long history of oral tradition in England, but the first lyrics for the song were written down in 1760.

So, to get into the festive spirit, Google has released not one, but two, Google Doodles to mark the two days before Christmas.

For those of us in colder climates, we see some well-wrapped carollers singing to us, as well as one solitary percussionist using the triangle.

Similarly, those likely to experience Christmas in an altogether warmer environment see carollers taking some shade beneath a palm tree.

So for our enjoyment, here are both versions of the Doodle created by Gerben Steenks, which will be followed by more over the coming days.

Google Doodle 1

Christmas display of carollers. Image: George Sheldon/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic