The meaning of Noel

You may have never thought about the meaning of a word deeply connected with Christmas, such as Noel. The word Noel is everywhere during the Christmas season, but what does it mean and where did it come from?

"I think the simple answer is that it comes to us from the French Language and basically it means Christmas. That doesn't explain how it has become so popular and it's become so firmly entrenched in our lexicon. I have a theory about this, much like with Feliz Navidad, which was an expression made famous by the song, Feliz Navidad, Noel achieved popularity in the 18th century and beyond with one of our favorite Christmas carols, The First Noel," said Frank Sobey, AC Associate Professor of English.

Read more The story of 'X' in Xmas A Poinsettia story

It's hard to pin down the song's origin. Some say that it comes from England, others say it's from France. What we do know is William Sandys and Davies Gilbert first published the song in the book Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern. That is where the version of the song we know originated.

"That's the power of music number one, and number two, with words in particular, when they're placed in a certain context, when we hear them in a particular context we remember them more," said Sobey.