Celebrating Winter Through Music in Loudoun County

Music in Loudoun County

Music is a prominent element of holidays worldwide, bringing continuity, joy, and tradition to the present.  Below are some of the holidays celebrated by Loudoun County residents with historic commentary on the origins of such holiday music. 


Christmas carols may have originated as early as the fourth century C.E. as Latin hymns in churches, overtaking pagan hymns sung as celebrations of the winter solstice with the rise of the Christian Church.  While most of the most famous carols are from the 19th century, there are still some, such as “O magnum mysterium,” that are still popular in churches.  Carollers became commonplace around the 18th century and still sing for passersby today. 

Enjoy caroling at Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon, Christmas in Middleburg, and  at a number of Holiday Events in Leesburg.

Lunar New Year

In China, the New Year is welcomed with a cacophony of drums and firecrackers.  While not the most musical, the festival and noise serves the purpose of fulfilling superstition and tradition.  According to Chinese legend, a monster named Nian used to terrorize villages by eating their people and destroying their homes, but the bright lights and loud noises of the firecrackers scared away the spirit and kept the village safe.  Thus, the celebrations continued throughout the years. The Loudoun County Public Library puts on several Lunar New Year Lion Dance performances. Another great option is the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association’s Chinese Lunar New Year Parade in Washington D.C. (note this may be virtual).

Holi and Lohri

Although there are many regional and community-specific genres of music in India, the most popular music genre sung during Holi is known as Hori.  These songs are sung especially in the region of Uttar Pradesh and describe the tradition and origin of the holiday.  Lohri is another Winter festival and holiday originating in India. To enjoy music celebrating Holi and Lohri, please contact the Academies of Loudoun Indian Student Association or consider reaching out to Sangeetalahari.

Are you interested in learning more about music across cultures in Loudoun County? Or, might you have a story about a music celebration in Loudoun? Please email us at: info@loudouncommunitypress.org 

Article by Monet Shum

Article by Monet Shum