Glor-or-or-oror-oor-or-or-or-or-oror-ooor-or-or-or-oror-oria (let’s just call her Gloria for short) is the Goddess of all those people out there who love the festive time of year and love to sing. Especially those who actually poses some genuine singing ability, and therefore stick out like a wise man on Jeremy Kyle’s sofa amongst their fellow carollers. Though, I should make it clear, ability is not necessarily required to follow Gloria. Enthusiasm, however, is essential.
Gloria herself presents an imposing figure with huge….erm…lungs. She has a magnificent operatic soprano voice which, like bagpipes, is best enjoyed at a safe distance. Her impressive vocal projection is capable of warning any three ships that may happen to come sailing in away from any treacherous rocks hidden by fog. She often gives the impression that this avatar is merely a seasonal gig, and that she might spend the rest of the year ferrying the souls of warriors from the battlefield to the afterlife*. Her followers believe that whenever they gather to sign yuletide songs, if they raise the roof high enough, Gloria herself will descend from the heavens and join in.
Followers of Gloria strictly confine their acts of worship to the month of December. Singing the songs of Gloria outside of this time is only permitted by the inner circle of the priesthood within specially defined rehearsal spaces. In fact the only way one can spot a follower of Gloria during the rest of the year is if they attend a birthday party. They will be the one adding a harmony on the last line of “Happy Birthday to You”.
The true and proper words of the songs of Gloria are set down in her sacred text, The Uxbridge Book of Carols. Deviations from these verified scriptures is anathema to them. There is said to be a forbidden “Dark Text”, which contains heretical versions of Gloria’s hymns. These are rumoured include references to the transportation preferences of eastern monarchs, shepherds’ laundry night and Batman’s body odour affliction. This iconoclastic tome is known as “100 Carols for Pariahs”. If you are caught with a copy about your person, you will be ritually ostracised. This is done by the priesthood singing the “Being Sent to Coventry Carol” , before turning their parker clad backs on you.
Gloria’s temples are quaint Dickensian cottages surrounded by holly bushes and intertwined with ivy. The warm flicker of firelight glows through the mullioned windows, and the roof if always coated with a light dusting of snow.
Unusually, worship does not take place inside the temple building itself. The congregation will gather outside the temple door at twilight in their boots and bobble hats to sing the goddess’s praises with great gusto. Sometimes they will stand in a crowd around the porch, at others they will arrange themselves in single file (this is known as the sweet carol line). The flock carry the community spirit with them (in a hip flask). Only once a rousing rendition has been recited will the priesthood throw open the temple doors and invite the worshippers inside for a shared celebrative feast of wassail, mulled wine, mince pies, figgy pudding and special psychoactive substance laced Ding-Dongs which will get you merrily high. The doors are only opened once the priesthood judge that the congregation’s performance has been satisfactory. Sometimes wayward congregations have been known to get cold and impatient and begin belting out “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” with its passive aggressive demands that the clergy bring the refreshments out to them instead (and they won’t go until they get some).
Noviciates for the priesthood of Gloria are chosen and initiated into the noviciate at a very tender age. The senior priests attend every possible school nativity play and carol service, searching for any child who, when it comes to singing, gives zero fucks and belts out Silent Night like a Prima Donna. Despite the fact that the rest of their classmates are murmuring into their hymn books as they quietly die of embarrassment. (Incidentally, followers of Gloria have a special name for those heathen dissidents who whisper or merely lip-sync along to carols. The call them the “NÖel Cowards” dear boy.)
Christian based religions may be more familiar with this goddess as the pre-congregation Saint Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la.
Whatever form you venerate her in, ultimately Gloria’s is a religion of joyful celebration, overcoming your inhibitions, joining in and bringing diverse people together in four part harmony. In that spirit, Gods rest you merry one and all!
With lots of love from Idol Scribblings. Xxx
*Well I suppose everyone needs a hobby.
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