Nugget of Knowledge: Jingle Bells a drinking song?


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – James Pierpont wrote the song we sing today, “Jingle Bells.”

He most likely wrote the lyrics in Medford, Massachusetts in 1850.

The lyrics, to our ears, sound like Christmas: “Dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh,” but there is no mention of Christmas or December, and the “sleigh” isn’t Santa’s.

The town of Medford held races with sleighs and that may have inspired Pierpont.

One theory says he wrote “Jingle Bells” for Thanksgiving, not Christmas and for children to sing during a Sunday school class.

But wait, some of the lyrics are racy. They deal with a sleigh crashing, and this verse: “Now the ground is white…Go it while you’re young….Take the girls tonight…and sing this sleighing song.”

Best guess: “Jingle Bells” was a drinking song in the 19th century.

Guests at parties would ‘jingle’ the ice cubes in their glasses while they sang along and smirked.

“Jingle Bells” was the first song broadcast from space.

Gemini 6 astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra said they spotted a sleigh in orbit in December 1965, and they picked up sounds. The astronauts then pulled out a smuggled harmonica and sleigh bells and played “Jingle Bells” for Mission Control.

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