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The words for this song go back to the 15th century but without music.
New music has been written for this song in the 20th century by two composers. thou merry man is available on the Hymns and Carols of Christmas website as an image of the music with words at the bottom of the page. by Nicholson is also on the Hymns and Carols of Christmas website and this is also published in the Oxford Book of Carols as #174.
Of course additional costumes can be added with verses to represent anyone that would be appropriate to the season.
With the spelling modernized, it has the chorus: “Welcome Yule, thou merry man,/ In worship of this holy day/ Welcome Yule! ” and the first verse begins: “Welcome be thou, Heaven-King/ Welcome born in one morning...” Christians like to think this refers to the birth of one of their gods but actually it refers to the rebirth of the Sun, celebrated at the Winter Solstice.
performed by Seraffyn the Wandering Minstrel on a You Tube video consisting of outtakes of a hotel advertisement which I thought was hilarious.
People decorated their houses with evergreens (holly, ivy, mistletoe, pine and fir) because these plants stay green all winter.
There are three main groups of songs here: Songs of Holly and Ivy, especially traditional for the decoration of the houses, and a reminder that life continues even when much of nature seems to have died.
It is most likely that the Indo-Europeans thanked the Goddess at the Winter Solstice, for giving them the grain which kept them alive through the winter.