ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Carol of the Bells, or, the Ukrainian Carol

Updated on December 12, 2012

The Carol of the Bells, or the Ukrainian Carol is one of the most-loved Christmas carols of all time; it has been recorded by numerous artists, choirs and orchestras since the 1930s

The song was written by Mykola Leontovych in 1904 and entitled Shchedryk; it was first performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1921 by the Ukrainian National Chorus. The song was adapted into English by Peter J. Wilhousky in the 1930s.

Carol of the Bells was not originally a Christmas song; the original Ukrainian lyrics are about “a swallow flying into a household to sing of wealth” to come to a family in spring. The English lyrics were inspired by a Slavic legend that stated that all the bells on earth rang out on midnight the day Jesus was born.


Christmas Music

While I am not a religious person, I appreciate the beautiful music that has come from those who are. I find that most of my favourite Christmas carols are the religious ones, rather than the poppy secular ones that bore me to death. However, I do have a few favourites among the secular ones such as Fairytale of New York and I Believe in Father Christmas.

Carol of the Bells is a difficult song to sing, it is also difficult to catch all the lyrics due to how quickly it is usually sung. It is also often performed as an instrumental by such groups as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Mannheim Steamroller. Some of my favourite versions of the song are by Celtic Woman, Orla Fallon and Andy Williams.

The 4 signature notes of Carol of the Bells
The 4 signature notes of Carol of the Bells | Source

Christmas Carol Season

I have written another article where I state that there is a shelf life for Christmas carols. You want to hear them in the weeks living up to Christmas, but after that you don’t want to hear them for another year. Carol of the Bells is one of those carols that I look forward to listening to year after year. It is one of those songs that give me goose-bumps whenever I hear it, no matter who is performing it.

I have also written about the history of O Holy Night, still my all-time favourite Christmas carol. There will also be more articles about Christmas carols to follow so please stay tuned…

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

This seems to be the version of the song that is played most often. It is the perfect background to any of your holiday events.

Celtic Woman

I am a huge fan of Celtic Woman, there doesn't seem to be any song that they don't make more magical. This is a great version of the song.

Carol of the Bells

The lyrics are often hard to understand as they move so quickly. This video gives you the lyrics to sing along with.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir

This is a rich, multi-layered version of the song. As it was originally written as a choral work, this is as close to how the original composer would have wished to hear it as possible.

South Park

A Christmas article about carols has to contain at least one parody version. And here it is.

Which is your Favourite?

Which is your favourite Christmas carol or do you try to avoid them all? Please share your answers in the comments box below.


Submit a Comment

  • Denise Handlon profile image

    Denise Handlon 

    7 years ago from North Carolina

    I did not know that the Carol of the Bells was Ukranian. I have always loved this song. Wonderful choices here to present it. I saw the TS orchestra in Raleigh, NC a couple of years ago and it was a wonderful concert. Like you-I love the Celtic Woman. The version with the lyrics-very helpful, LOL I still wouldn't be able to keep up but at least I understand more of the song. Enjoyed.

  • alekhouse profile image

    Nancy Hinchliff 

    7 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

    Interesting hub. I love the Carol of the Bells. And my favorite rendition is by the Celtic women. They are fantastic singing anything.

  • Meliesa profile image


    7 years ago from Wenatchee, WA

    Here's my favorite: Geoffrey Castle with one violin sounding like a full orchestra.

  • homesteadbound profile image

    Cindy Murdoch 

    7 years ago from Texas

    That is indeed a beautiful song. I liked all the different renditions that you included.

  • Sally's Trove profile image


    7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

    Celtic Woman wins, for me, in this awesome collection. When I was a schoolgirl, I sang in an Episcopal choir. Carol of the Bells was our favorite Christmas song to perform. Thanks for the history, none of which I knew.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)