This traditional song first appeared in 1833 in the William Sandys collection Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern. Judging from the language of its text, Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day likely predates that publication by a century or more. Whatever its precise age, it received a fair amount of attention throughout the twentieth century. Composers John Rutter and John L. Gardner did settings of the text, and the anonymous original maintained a strong level of popularity, especially in England.
The song is usually sung by choral groups in the concert hall and on recordings. Several arrangements of it for larger ensembles have been made, including an attractive one by David Willcocks. The main theme is lively and joyous, having a catchy quality in the way it rises with a surge of delight, then descends happily, only to rise and fall again with an irresistible chipper sense in succeeding thematic phrases. The music exudes innocence and wonder in its glee, imparting a spirited Christmas-like mood. In the text, Christ recounts his birth, passion, death, and resurrection. This is a beautiful and quite colorful Christmas carol, offering appeal for a wide audience of vocal music lovers.