'Tis The Season
Did you ever consider the origin of the phrase ‘tis the season’? Neither did I. We all understand ‘tis is an old contraction for it is. As you likely surmised it comes from a centuries old Welsh carol. As you likely surmised, the carol is Deck The Halls – “Deck the halls with boughs of holly. ‘Tis the season to be jolly.”
'Tis the season when lots of people are saying "'Tis the season!" It is the time of the year that is also known broadly as the holiday season.
The song functions culturally as a constant earworm for many people during the month of December. Its tones ring out from radios and store speakers.
While the song is centuries old, the phrase hasn't been around as long as one might think, In fact, it wasn't really until the 1970s that we started to see it popping up in magazine and newspaper articles.
Just a further note on the song. It was translated from the Welsh into English around 1862 by a Scottish lyricist. Some of the words went through several iterations over the decades. For example, the Pennsylvania School Journal in the 1870’s published the song with ‘Halls’ in the singular and changed the word ‘yuletide’ to Christmas. One of the original lines in the song was ”Fill the mead cup and drain the barrel.” This was changed to “Don we now our gay apparel.”
The 'fa la la la las' were influenced by Madrigals. Madrigals usually featured poetry set to music, with a composer adding "accompaniment" sections for some voices (such as fa la la).
Even Mozart used this carol to start a duet with piano and violin.
And so ends this bit of useless trivia. Nonetheless, go ahead and deck a hall or two. After all, ‘tis the season. Fa la la.
Comments are welcomed.