The head of a boar being carried around the room and sung about might seem like an odd tradition, but it's a very old and venerated one. No one knows for sure when exactly it developed in England, but one of the first mentions of it is in an account of a celebratory feast which King Henry II held for his son (also Henry) in 1170: "Upon the daie of coronation, king Henrie the father serued his sonne at the table as sewer, bringing up the boars head with trumpets before it, according to the maner."
Went roaring up the chimney wide:
The huge hall-table's oaken face,
Scrubb'd till it shone, the day to grace,
Bore then upon its massive board
No mark to part the squire and lord.
Then was brought in the lusty brawn,
By old, blue-coated serving man;
Then the grim boar's head frown'd on high,
crested with bays and rosemary.
Well can the green-garb'd ranger tell ,
How, when, and where the monster fell;
What dogs before his death he tore,
And all the baiting of the boar.
The wassel round, in good brown bowls,
garnish'd with ribbon, blithely trowls.
There the huge sirloin reek'd; hard by
Plum-porridge stood, and Christmas pie:
Nor fail'd old Scotland to produce,
At such high tide, her savoury goose.
Then came the merry maskers in,
And carols roared with blithesome din;
If unmelodious was the song,
It was a hearty note, and strong.
So, not only is the music great, and the lyrics fun to sing, but the carol comes with a long and fascinating history which enhances my enjoyment in singing it. The version below isn't exactly how we did it- a cappella- but gives an idea of the kind of marching beat its sung to: