Christmas Carollers, 1950

Chistmas Carollers, December 1950
Chistmas Carollers, December 1950 (Queen’s University Archives, George Lilley fonds V25.5 14-74)

The true origin of the tradition of Christmas carolling is uncertain. The most common theory is that it began in the 16th century, when peasants would sing from door to door in return for some hot spicy beverage, known as “wassail”. The tradition died down for a while in the late 1600s, but re-emerged in the 19th century during the Victoria era. Although these days there are not many people who go carolling around the city, it was still a favoured festive tradition back in the 1950’s, as seen in this photograph taken by George Lilley.

Queen's Archives

Queen's Archives regular column on Kingstonist showcases our city's rich history via assets sourced from their vast collection. Their contributions stimulate dialog regarding the places, people and events that have shaped Kingston. Learn more about Queen's Archives...

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