Jiggle bells and a history of Sleigh bells

Happy Holidays

“Jingle bells, jingles bells, jingle all the way….” is among my youngest girl’s (Amanda) favorite songs lately. She loves to sing and that’s one song she loves. I can’t help but feel some heart felt feelings since I love horses and have had the wonderful experience of going on a hayride around the holidays. There’s something about the sound of steady clopping hoofs and the jingling of the harness bells that’s soothing. The barn where I used to take riding lessons would arrange to go on a group hayride near Christmas.

We would meet and drive to the farm that had some draft horses and wagon for hayrides. We’d get to the farm and see them bring out the draft horses. They were just beautiful. They’d hitch them up and we’d all get into the wagon and sit in the hay. Once settled the hayride began. The hayride would travel down a quiet back road. In the late evening the sky would be dark and some of the houses we passed had their Christmas lights on. The lights and the stars above gave the evening a magical feeling. We’d pass around the warm cider and sing some songs occasionally. But there were also quiet moments of just taking it all in … The clopping hoofs, jingling bell, the stars and lights in the dark evening. Feelings of warmth and happiness were shared amidst the cold night air.

Recently we attended our city’s tree lighting. They offered hayrides at the event. Our girls were excited when they saw the horses and hay wagon. So we went on the hayride. It was a short ride around the school’s outer grounds. It was fun. The warm feelings of the past filled my cup. Now I got to share a little of it with our girls.

Here’s a short history about sleigh bells to ponder.
The History of Sleigh Bells
By Steven Beckerman

For many people, the melodic, rhythmic ringing of sleigh bells brings along inescapable images of winter and snowfall and the smell of Christmas, but were you aware that it goes much deeper than that? Sleigh bells have been with us for a very long time, and though we might be most accustomed to them in picturesque depictions a Victorian horse and carriage traveling through the snow, they actually go back quite a ways earlier!

Though today we’ll find them everywhere, the bells that we know as sleigh bells were once only used for horses. Archaeologists have found similar bells in England, and the most early ones date back to when the Romans inhabited the northern lands. This means that these bells have been a part of the horse’s harness for well over a thousand years. With this in mind, it can be thought that the bells were quite desirable, and they could be considered a sign of wealth and status.

You could also find single bells, extravagantly made of gold or silver, being used to decorate the warhorses during the Medieval age. These bells, called crotals, were definitely a sign of conspicuous consumption, and the ringing of these bells was thought to bring good luck and to ward off evil spirits and diseases.

It was not known when these ringing bells became common for wagons or sleighs, but it can be thought that they served both a decorative and a practical function. While of course everyone smiles to hear the cheerful ringing of sleighbells, they could also warn other people that there was a coach coming along the way, and on foggy nights, this could have saved lives. Sleighs can be difficult to stop without notice, and in many places, bells were required for the protection of those on the road.

During the nineteenth century, there was a fairly strong demand for sleigh bells, and they were mass produced in East Hampton, Connecticut. The bells that were made in this location were popular throughout the country, and these bells would adorn racing sleighs during competitions and the sleighs of people who just wanted to get around during the winter.

For many people, the first contact that they had with sleighbells was through the incredibly popular Christmas carol, known as “Jingle Bells,” though originally, it’s composer, James Pierpont called it “One Horse Open Sleigh.” Written in the mid 1800’s, this song is still sung at Christmas time and has been translated into many languages.

From ancient Roman times to the present, it is clear that sleigh bells hold a popular appeal, whether they are on a horse, or in our songs!

Author collects Antique restrapped Brass Sleigh Bells and is an authority on the history of sleigh bells .

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Steven_Beckerman http://EzineArticles.com/?The-History-of-Sleigh-Bells&id=1396474

May this Holiday season ring true with warmth and happiness.

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Art News

The Equine Art Guild’s newest Art Show online

“The Best of 2007”
the fourth in a series of virtual Art Shows by the members of the Equine Art Guild
The Equine Art Guild is proud to showcase the best of the best of artworks created by our members in 2007. Whether it be horses or otherwise, this exhibit shows off the best works that each of the participating artists created in 2007.

Visit The Equine Art Guild website.

Soldier Portraits
Darla Dixon organized a group of artists who will create no-charge compassionate portraits for the families who have lost a loved one in Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom. We are looking for artists to join our efforts, and also for non-artists who will help spread the word about this free service and token of our gratitude to families who have sacrificed so much.”
For more information, contact Darla (darla@darladixon.com) or visit SoldierPortraits.org.

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