Today is Monday of Christmas Week. It is a quiet day in the Christian calendar, a day without a festival or commemoration. Six days of Christmastide with its feasting and celebration are behind us and we have six more days to experience. At this midpoint we'll enjoy a feast day of another kind...
... and music to match. The Boar's Head Carol dates from 15th century England. The presentation and feast it describes likely has pagan origins as do many of our Christmas traditions. In the U.S., restoration of this traditional whole pig roast, complete with apple, appears to be strong among churches and colleges. Here is a bold treatment of the carol by Steeleye Span and Maddy Prior:
The boar's head in hand bear I,
Bedeck'd with bays and rosemary.
I pray you, my masters, be merry
Quot estis in convivio (Translation: As many as are in the feast)
Caput apri defero (Translation: The boar's head I offer)
Reddens laudes Domino (Translation: Giving praises to the Lord)
The boar's head, as I understand,
Is the rarest dish in all this land,
Which thus bedeck'd with a gay garland
Let us servire cantico. (Translation: Let us serve with a song)
Our steward hath provided this
In honour of the King of Bliss;
Which, on this day to be served is
In Reginensi atrio. (Translation: In the Queen's hall)