No'eba (Νοεβά), a corrupt Graecized form (1 Esdras 5:31) of the name elsewhere given (Ezr 2:48) as NEKODA SEE NEKODA (q.v.).

(or NOWELL), a word which occurs very frequently in old carols, is by many supposed (and with good reason) to be derived from natalis, the birthday of Christ. The word Noel was used as a cry of joy, and was "sung at Angers during the eight days preceding Christmas," and now the word Christmas is thus expressed in the modern French also. The Portuguese, Irish, and Welsh terms for Christmas evidently, too, come from this source. But, on the other hand, Nowell is very frequently used in the sense of news or tidings, and, besides, was used as a "joyful exclamation not absolutely confined to Christmas." The following lines from "Ane compendious booke of Godly and Spiritual Sangs," seem to strengthen this interpretation:

"I come from Hevin to tell The best Nowellis that ever befell: To you this things trew I bring."

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

And, again, in a 15th century carol:

"Gabryell of hygh degree, Came down from the Trenyte, To Nazareth in Galilee, With Nova."

Christmas evergreens, the holly and the ivy, form the subject of many an old carol. The "Holly Carol," most popular and familiar to us, details at length the various symbolical references this favored evergreen bears to the incarnation of Christ the Lord, e.g.:

"The holly bears a berry As red as any blood, And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ To do poor sinners good.

The holly bears a prickle As sharp as any thorn, And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ On Christmas day in the morn."


a French clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church, flourished as abbe of St. Nicholas of Angers from 1080 until his death in 1096. It was during his government that pope Urban II came to Angers and consecrated the church of St. Nicholas. At the time abbe Noel was near the end of his life — he died only a few days later. The authors of the Histoire litteraire de la France attribute to Juhel d'Artins, abbe of La Couture, in Mans, a Histoire des miracles de saint Nicolas, bishop of Myre, a considerable fragment of which is found in No. 498 of the MSS. of St. Germain. This attribution is erroneous, and the work ought to be attributed to abbe Noel. Some extracts from the IS. of St. Germain, published in the Gallia Christiana, clearly demonstrate it as his work. See Hist. litt. de la France, t. viii; Gallia Christ. t. xiv, col 473, 670.

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