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Solstice Bells December 17, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Music & Dance.
27 comments

IMGP2763bBells have been ringing out for thousands of years. 

The oldest bells appeared on the island of Crete, 4,000 years ago.  Small, made of clay, with wooden clappers,  islanders hung them in trees to attract benevolent spirits.

The first bronze bells, cast by the Chinese 3,500 years ago, did not have clappers.  

Instead, they were stuck by a mallet on the outside of the bell to produce deep resonant tones.

In medieval Europe, bell makers learned that bells of different sizes emitted different tones.  Churches and cathedrals  commissioned a multitude of bells for their towers where trained bell ringers produced glorious sounds by “playing the bells.” 

In 1897, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, Archbishop Michael Corrigan “baptized” 19 bells (named for various saints) before they were hung ~ anointing each with holy oil, washing them with holy water, and burning incense beneath each bell to fill the hollow with fragrance.

Now, at the Solstice of the Year, bells ring out in merry measure.  

Many seasonal carols include bells as a focal point ~ Jingle Bells, Silver Bells, We Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, Carol of the Bells, and Ring Out Solstice Bells by Jethro Tull . . .

Aah . . . that’s better!

Sources:  The Book of Invention, Bells, p. 70; Wikipedia ~ Bell (instrument)