US #5247 - "Deck the Halls”
2017 49c Christmas Carols
Value: 49¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate- Forever
Issued: October 5, 2017
First Day City: New York, NY
Type of Stamp: Special
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Format: Double Sided Booklet of 20
Quantity Printed: 11,250,000 stamps
The tune that would later become “Deck the Halls” originated in the 16th century by Welsh harpist John Parry. Even though Mozart famously made it a piano and violin duet, it is Thomas Oliphant’s English version sung today. Thomas wrote “Deck the Hall” in 1862 from the Welsh version “Nos Galan.” He is responsible for many popular songs we know today, including “Ave Maria.” Known as the “Poet of the Court” by Queen Victoria, Oliphant also wrote lyrics for royal events.
It is said that Thomas Oliphant would interpret the English lyrics for songs based on the feel of the music, instead of translating the words. He used his method to write lyrics that corresponded to the melody.
“Deck the Hall” is a perfect example of Thomas Oliphant’s impressionistic style. “Nos Galan” was originally a winter carol about the New Year holiday, paying bills, and lack of plans to meet with friends. Oliphant wrote only lyrics to coincide with the melody that made the song about a happy occasion. Although now there is no actual mention of Christmas, it is certain a joyous celebration is taking place.
“Deck the Halls” has risen in popularity over the years, even becoming the title of a movie in 2006. Traditionally, carolers only sang Christian Christmas hymns, but “Deck the Halls” is often an exception.