Boar’s Head Carol

Origin and History | Boar's Head Carol Lyrics | Youtube Video | Music Sheets


This Christmas carol talks about a feast during midwinter in which a wild boar was served as the main dish and its head placed in a situated position to symbolize bravery and abundance. Closely related to the Norse tradition of boar sacrifice to their goddess Freyja during the feast of Winter Solstice, this song originated from an urban legend in Queen's College, Oxford back in the 15th century which tells of how a scholar from Queen’s College managed to kill an attacking boar and offered it at dinner.

History and Origin of the Carol “Boar’s Head Carol”

The song was first published in English during the 1520’s in a book entitled Christmase Carolles Newly Emprynted at London in the flete street, which was written by Jan van Wynken de Worde. It is also said to be the very 1st Christmas carol to ever be publish in English because it dates back that early.

Although the modern versions of the song makes no mention of Christmas, the original verses does so in “The boar's head we bring with song, in worship of Him that thus sprung, of a Virgin to redress all wrong; Noel”.

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Boar’s Head Carol Lyrics

The boar's head in hand bring I
Bedeck'd with bays and rosemary.
I pray you, my masters, be merry
Quot estis in convivio.

Caput apri defero
Reddens laudes Domino.
The boar's head, as I understand
Is the rarest dish in all this land
Which thus bedeck'd with a gay garland
Let us servire cantico.

Caput apri defero
Reddens laudes Domino

Our steward hath provided this
In honor of the King of Bliss;
Which, on this day to be served is
In Reginensi atrio.

Caput apri defero
Reddens laudes Domino.

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Boar’s Head Carol Youtube Video

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Boar’s Head Carol Music Sheet

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