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The Old Year Now Away Has Fled

Updated on January 1, 2014

An old New Year's Song

We usually don't think of carols, other than the popular song, Auld Lang Syne, as being part of the New Year's celebration.

However, New Year's, like many other holidays, has connections to the Christian religion. In the Catholic and Anglican churches, New Year's Day is observed as a holy day known variously in the Roman Catholic Church as The Feast of the Circumcision, Octave Day of Christmas (8th day after Christmas) and, more recently, Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. In the Anglican Church it is known as the Naming of Jesus.

This is the day on which, according to the Law of Moses in the Jewish religion that a male child is circumcised and given his name. Being a Jewish child, the parents of Jesus observed this and other laws and customs of the Jewish faith.

Stefan Tenecki: The Circumcision of Christ,

In 1642 The Old Year Now Away Has Fled was published as a Christmas, actually New Year's, carol.

This song celebrates the promise of the New Year and gives an insight in to the type of New Year's Day celebration that was observed in seventeenth century England.

Again, there is a mixture of the combining religious and the secular, sacred and profane in recognition of our duality as both body and spirit. Adding to the secularism of the song is the fact that it is set to the tune of the popular medieval tune Greensleeves.

The Old Year Now Away Has Fled

Below are the Lyrics to this Carol:


The melody known as Greensleeves dates back to at least the sixteenth century and probably earlier. Greensleeves made its first appearance in print in 1580. One set of lyrics, possibly the original, to the melody is about a noble lady called "Greensleeves" because of the green sleeves she favored for her gowns. Other, some rather risque and some political, lyrics have also been sung to the Greensleeves melody.

Greensleeves Melody with Pictures of Nature

© 2006 Chuck Nugent


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    • safetyfirst profile image

      safetyfirst 9 years ago

      Amazing hub, two thumbs up. I never knew about that carol. Ahh, how beautiful were the ages of Faith.