Archive Jolly Old Saint Nicholas mountain dulcimer tablature arrangement in the 1-3-5 tuning www.mountaindulcimer-1-3-5.com
Jolly Old Saint Nicholas
Words & Music: Traditional American (ca 1860)
Arranged by Elizabeth DiPietri
Neither a carol nor a hymn, this happy melody is written
from the child’s point of view, anticipating the joys of
Christmas. Notice the surprising fact that it is
arranged in the key of E, even with a D-F#-A tuning!
Elizabeth says this just turned out that way because the
song sounded best to her in that key. Also, it is very
easy to play.
all traditional folk tunes, the lyrics have varied down
through the years. In the ones shown here, “Santa Claus”
appears in the third verse, replacing jolly old “Saint
Nicholas”. How did this all start?
once was a kind and benevolent bishop named Nicholas,
who lived during the 4th century A.D. in a
small city on the Mediterranean coast in what now is
part of Turkey. He is reputed to have been a benefactor
to the poor and to all children, until his death on
December 6 (352 or 345 A.D). For some centuries
thereafter, his fame grew as the patron saint of
children, and the Christian church began to observe the
Feast of Saint Nicholas annually on December 6.
was not until the 16th century, during the
reformation movement of the Christian churches in
Germany and the Netherlands, that the celebration of
Saint Nicholas was banned and replaced by an observance
of the birth of the Christ child (Christkindlein).
The tradition of gift-giving to children was still
observed and the name of the gift-giver eventually
became Kriss Kringle. In the Netherlands, the
same personage became Sinterklaas, from which we
derive Santa Claus.
thus appears that gift-giving, to children of the poor
at least, has always been a fundamental part of what we
now call Christmas.
From All of US – Gail, Ruth, Elizabeth and Merv…
Merry Christmas! and Blessings for the New Year