It turns out that all our life we have been living a life. While, no children’s nativity or carol would be complete without Jingle bells, it turns out the popular song that seems to capture the essence of Christmas is not a Yuletide song at all!
What’s more shocking is that there is another whole verse which we all ignore in order to make the Song more Christmassy.
Jingle Bells was written by American composer James Pierpoint in 1857, and is actually about Thanksgiving.
The song was originally named One Horse Open Sleigh and none of the lyrics actually relate to Christmas.
According to Mark Forsyth, author of A Christmas Cornucopia: The Curious Origins of Our Yuletide Traditions (Viking Penguin), the song was never meant to be a Christmas song, and is actually a general one on “winter fun and frolics.”
It turns out that verse two goes like this:
A day or two ago
I tho’t I’d take a ride
And soon Miss Fannie Bright
Was seated by my side.
The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
He got into a drifted bank
And we – we got upsot.
The lyrics, about a couple’s snowy ride, was considered quite racy in the 19th century and some believe it might have been bellowed as a bawdy drinking song, rather than sung by children.