Tune of the Day: Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella
This Christmas carol, also known under the French title “Un flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle” originated from the Provence region of France in the 16th century. First published in 1553, the song was not originally intended to be sung at Christmas, but rather to be played as dance music for French nobility.
The carol tells the story of two milkmaids, Jeanette and Isabella, who go to milk their cows in a stable in Bethlehem, only to find the baby Jesus sleeping in the manger. The two girls run to town to tell the village of the coming of Christ, and the townspeople come with their own torches to view the sight for themselves. To this day in the Provence region, children dress up as shepherds and milkmaids, carrying torches and candles to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, while singing the carol.