A Mystery: The Coventry Carol

If you thought Christmas was all about good tidings and joy, you were wrong. The Coventry Carol is a song about infanticide and also a lullaby sung by mothers of doomed children.


The English carol dates back to the 16th Century and was traditionally performed as part of a ‘mystery’ play – the nativity –  by the city’s guild and was also a tool used to teach the illiterate the historical events which had taken place. The play gives a Biblical account of the “Massacre of the Innocents” and has since been a part of Western society’s elementary school Christmas pageants for many years.


Coventry Carol – performed by Westminster Cathedral Choir.

When Jesus was born, 3 Magi (wise men) followed the new King’s star to the East to bring him offerings and  blessings. King Herod aka Herod the Great – Roman King of the Jews, directed the Magi to return to him with the name of the future ruler. The Magi did not know Herod had plans for the Holy wee one. We should thank our lucky stars – an angel intervened! It spoke to the Magi telling the 3 not to alert Herod of Jesus and his whereabouts.

Herod was not willing to give up his position and ordered all Jewish males under the age of 2 throughout Bethlehem and surrounding areas to be executed. Many infants,  mothers and fathers suffered the consequences of the Magi’s tight lips; all in the name of protecting the new King and saviour. The number of slaughtered  infants has never been stated and most likely was never recorded. If this sounds all too familiar; it is with good reason.

– altered by Hystoria


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