Figgy Pudding Street Corner Caroling Competition

The practice of caroling, from the High Middle Celtic ceaidh hrol, or “gift [from] tradesmen,” originated in fifth-century Ireland. Small groups would gather just before Christmas to lead a donkey past their village marketplace, recreating Joseph and Mary’s search for lodging prior to the Nativity, chanting seasonal hymns. It was the custom for merchants so serenaded to write off the carolers’ debts, accepting their song in lieu of payment, as a way of atoning for the Bethlehem innkeepers who turned away the Holy Family. This ancient tradition, which I just now made up, lives on in The Great Figgy Pudding Street Corner Caroling Competition, which actually is sponsored each year by the Pike Market Senior Center. Over 40 singing teams, many creatively costumed, will vie in the 22nd annual event to raise funds for the Center and the Downtown Food Bank, with prizes awarded both for performance and donation-gathering prowess. Westlake Center & Pine Street (between Third and Seventh Aves.), Free. 6-8:30 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERT

Fri., Dec. 5, 2008

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