Friday, 5 December 2008

Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas was a real person. He was born around 907 in the castle of Stochov near Prague. He ruled Bohemia for 5 years but died young in 929. The castle is gone now, but there is still an oak tree there that was supposedly planted by his mother, Ludmila, when Wenceslas was born. His nannies watered the tree with his bath water, which supposedly made the tree strong. The church Wenceslas attended also exists today.

The words to the carol Good King Wenceslas were written by John Mason Neale and first published in 1853. The music is from a 13th century song called Tempus Adest Floridum and the music was first published in written form in Finland in 1582 as part of a collection of songs called Piae Cantiones. In case you're wondering, the Feast of Stephen is celebrated on December 26th – Boxing Day.

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