Christmas/Catalogs/Non-Christmas Songs, Hymns, Oratorios and Arias sung at Christmastide

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Some religious songs not intended for particular use at Christmas have nevertheless become associated with the season in recent decades. This may be due to popularizing by a particular artist, or, in the case of works in Latin, a reverent and majestic-sounding piece with words that are not understood. These works include:

  • Ave Maria – The “Hail Mary” is suitable for use throughout the year, and particularly for Marian Feast Days. Its use at Christmastide may be due to the words of The Annunciation heard at the beginning.
  • Messiah – Handel’s’ seminal oratorio was not written or first performed at Christmas, but it is now traditional to hear the piece at Christmas, or, more frequently, the Christmas portion plus “Alleluia”.
  • O Happy Day – a gospel classic often heard during Advent in Australia and America
  • Operator (“Operator, Information, get me Jesus on the line”) – see above
  • Panis Angelicus – Its Christmas use may be due to the fact that it is appropriate for celebrations of the Eucharist - or that English speakers do not know what it means.