The History of Christmas Bells


Bells ringing on Christmas Day is a commonplace practice during Christmas celebrations, but you may wonder where the practice originated. The original Christmas bells were typically hand bells that were rung by individual celebrants, but the traditional practice of ringing Christmas bells also applied to church and community bells.

Ringing of the Bells

  • The tradition of Christmas bells has its roots in paganism. Early pagans believed the ringing of the bells would ward off evil spirits. The Catholic church adopted the bell-ringing tradition to announce the birth of Christ and has rung bells in conjunction with its midnight mass since the time of the early Catholic church. Christmas bells were also used for other Christmas celebrations. Many times, Christmas carolers used the bells to provide musical accompaniment for their songs or even rang them in lieu of singing carols. The tradition of ringing Christmas bells continues today: Christmas bells are found on Christmas wreaths, tree decorations and even jewelry.

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