Have you ever thought about the significance of something as simple as a bell?
Not only were church bells of old used to announce the time of day to anyone within hearing distance, bells in general have been used since the earliest of times as a type of alarm, warning those nearby of things that were about to happen, things that were both "good" and some things that were "not so good." While bells have long been included in religious celebrations, the tolling of a bell may also serve as an announcement that a child has been born, a couple has been married, or to inform a community that a death has occurred.
During medieval times, the simple ringing of a bell was believed to have kept evil spirits away, and it was a common practice to ring a bell at the bedside of the deceased prior to burial. In modern times, bells of all types, sizes, and sounds are commonly used in our homes, schools, and other public places. Even our doorbells and the bell that ding-dings when we fail to buckle our seat belts have evolved from the early uses of bells as warning or announcement devices.
Today, bells continue to be a part of the simplest of our holiday traditions, both religious and secular. But neither Christmas nor a New Year celebration would be the same without bells.