ENJOY OUR MUSIC WHILE READING THE BLOG! “JINGLE BELLS” SUNG BY PERRY COMO
“One-Horse Open-Sleigh”, later known as Jingle Bells, was written by Massachusetts resident, James Pierpont in 1850. As this story tells, Pierpont wrote it in Simpson’s Tavern, a boarding house with the only piano in town. An unproven detail is that he wrote his popular winter song for his father’s Sunday School class for Thanksgiving. It was so popular that it was sung again at Christmas time. One of Pierpont’s friends called the song, “a merry little jingle.”
Among the earliest recorded versions of the song were on music boxes but it didn’t become popular until the phonograph record era. Among all the recordings, it was Bing Crosby with The Andrews Sisters who made the song the most popular. Their 1943 recording is the one most often heard today during the Christmas season in the United States.
Pierpont’s inspiration for this song was the annual one-horse open-sleigh races on Salem and Pleasant Streets between Medford Square and Malden Square. What were these races? In the 19th century, harness racing was extremely popular in towns. Straight, snow packed roads made for excellent racing lanes, and men would hitch their best horses for the races. Local newspapers from the 1800s and early 1900s included the latest sleigh racing reports, winner’s names and the breeding of the best horses. For many, sleigh racing was a cold-weather pastime, much like sledding and skiing. Large bells were attached to the horse’s necks to help avoid collisions at intersections (thus the inspiration for the title, Jingle Bells).
The sleigh described in “Jingle Bells” is known as a “cutter”—a two-person vehicle designed for a single horse in harness. A horse that could trot like the bobtailed mare referenced in the song could cover a mile in two minutes and 40 seconds. Fast one! It was not unusual for the tails of these horses to be bobbed to avoid entanglement in the tack.
As for sleigh racing, it dwindled in popularity each year after the introduction of the automobile.
Horses are certainly one of the most fascinating creatures that God created! In the Bible, they were used as sources of transportation, symbols of army strength, royal gifts, pagan worship and symbols of wealth, character, and prophesies. To ride a horse in biblical times, usually implied war, which is why men usually rode donkeys, mules, camels and ox-driven carts. They were rarely used for agricultural purposes.
The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.
On a day-to-day basis, horses were imported and exported so chariot cities were built to stable them. Archaeologists have uncovered the ancient city of Megiddo, which was one of King Solomon’s chariot cities. Massive stone hitching posts still may be observed at the location.
1 Kings 10: 28-29
“Solomon’s horses were brought out of Egypt, and the king’s merchants received them in droves, each at a price. A chariot could be brought out of Egypt for 600 shekels of silver, and a horse for 150. And so to all the kings of the Hittites and of Syria they were exported by the king’s merchants.”
1 Kings 4:26
“Solomon also had 40,000 stalls for his chariots and 12,000 horsemen”.
But for all the notoriety that horses are famous for, God wants us to understand this about horses. He created them for their strength and power but not as a replacement for His power in your life. Just as horses tend to be stubborn and independent, so the Lord encourages you to lean on Him at all times, for His guidance. It can symbolize destruction or victory to you in His holy name!