In the community of Wantagh, the spirit of Christmas makes itself known in more areas than shopping malls. With finely decorated Christmas trees and halls decked with holly, Wantagh locals recently gathered at the donning their gay apparel for the community's Annual Carol Sing.
Beginning in the early afternoon, many of the community's older residents showed up to learn new Christmas carols – and to reminisce through old ones.
Receiving a list of 23 songs, instructors educated audiences about the history of each song, explaining in part the origin of the carol, the entomology of a few choice words and the basis behind the melody. For example, one carol originally composed in Spanish (and later translated to English) has its roots in the Sephardic traditions of European Jews. "Safar", it was explained, means "Spain" in Hebrew. The Jewish people who were darker skinned, with darker, coarser hair were all labeled "Spanish" by Eastern, Ashkenazim (Jewish) populations.
Going from A Baby Born in Bethlehem to Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire, locals chose, song by song which carols they wanted to learn about – and attempt to sing.
"People always love Christmas carols.," said Wantagh resident Jim Coletti, who founded a local website for Wantagh. "Everyone loves the Christmas spirit."
The Annual Carol Sing takes place each year, typically two weeks before Christmas at the Wantagh Museum. It's free to all attendees who are provided with song sheets for all carols, and various instructors educate crowds as to the history of the songs. Lessons are followed by a group sing along.