The World’s Oldest Christmas Carol Is One You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Crosbygrisu / iStock via Getty Images
Crosbygrisu / iStock via Getty Images

While there are plenty of conflicting opinions about which Christmas songs are the best—Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” for example—and which are the worst (Looking at you, “Dominick the Donkey”), the oldest Christmas carol is probably missing from every heated debate.

That’s because it dates back to 129 C.E., and we don’t know what it sounded like. According to CatholicCulture.org, then-Bishop of Rome Telesphorus proclaimed that “In the Holy Night of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior, all shall solemnly sing the ‘Angel’s Hymn.’” As to when exactly the Holy Night of the Nativity occurred, that’s also a little questionable—Reader’s Digest reports that the church didn’t start celebrating Christmas on December 25 until about two centuries later, in 336 C.E.

Though we don’t know the original tune of the “Angel’s Hymn,” we do have an idea of some of its lyrics. In the Bible, the angels responded to Jesus’s birth by saying “Glory to God in the highest,” which, in Latin, translates to Gloria in excelsis Deo. And, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you might have heard that particular line on the radio around this time of year: It’s featured in the popular Christmas song “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

In her book Spirit of Christmas: A History of Our Best-Loved Carols, Virginia Reynolds explains that British bishop James Chadwick created the still-popular ditty in 1862 by combining the traditional Gloria in excelsis Deo hymn with a loose English translation of an old French carol called “Angels in Our Fields.”

So, although “Angels We Have Heard on High” in entirety doesn’t exactly qualify as the oldest Christmas song of all time, it definitely helped the original “Angel’s Hymn” gain mainstream, long-lasting recognition. Other early Christmas hymns, like “Jesus Refulsit Omnium” and “Corde natus ex Parentis,” weren’t so lucky.

[h/t Reader’s Digest]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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25 Amazing Facts for International Beer Day

iStock
iStock

Every year, suds lovers celebrate International Beer Day on August 7—which makes it the pefect day to share any one of these amazing facts about beer.

1. After he won the Nobel Prize, Niels Bohr was given a perpetual supply of beer piped into his house.

2. The Code of Hammurabi decreed that bartenders who watered down beer would be executed.

3. At the Wife Carrying World Championships, first prize is the wife's weight in beer.

4. A cloud near the constellation Aquila contains enough ethyl alcohol to fill 400 trillion trillion pints of beer.

5. Coined in the early 1900s, the word alcoholiday means leisure time spent drinking.

6. The builders of the Great Pyramid of Giza were paid with a daily ration of beer.

7. During WWII, a bear named Wojtek joined the Polish army. He transported ammunition and sometimes drank beer.

8. Fried beer won Most Creative Fried Food at the 2010 Texas State Fair.

9. The top five states for beer consumption per capita: 1. New Hampshire, 2. Montana, 3. Vermont, 4. North Dakota, 5. South Dakota.

10. Germany is home to a beer pipeline. Taps in Veltsin-Arena are connected by a 5km tube of beer.

11. Thomas Jefferson wrote parts of the Declaration of Independence in a Philadelphia tavern.

12. Cenosillicaphobia is the fear of an empty glass.

13. At the end of Prohibition, FDR said, "What America needs now is a drink."

14. Winston Churchill called the concept of Prohibition "an affront to the whole history of mankind."

15. George Washington insisted his continental army be permitted a quart of beer as part of their daily rations.

16. Oktoberfest originally started as a festival celebrating the 1810 marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig.

17. At spas in Europe, you can literally bathe in beer as a physical and mental therapeutic treatment.

18. In the 1990s, the Beer Lovers Party ran candidates in Belarus and Russia.

19. J.K. Rowling invented Quidditch in a pub.

20. Beer helped Joseph Priestley discover oxygen. He noticed gases rising from the big vats of beer at a brewery and asked to do some experiments.

21. A Buddhist temple in the Thai countryside was built with over 1 million recycled beer bottles.

22. The moon has a crater named Beer.

23. Beer soup was a common breakfast in medieval Europe.

24. At the start of Bavarian Beer Week in Germany, an open-air beer fountain dispenses free beer to the public.

25. In the 1980s, a beer-drinking goat was elected mayor of Lajitas, Texas.