European Christmas Carols

My native country was full of youthful promise; Europe was rich in the accumulated treasures of age.”

Washington Irving

Every European country has it’s little Christmas traditions: glug Glühwein in a German Christmas market, bake traditional cakes in Denmark, eat one of the seven Christmas meals in France … in Finland, of course, you can even meet Santa! Washington Irving is right, Europe is all about those treasures of age accumulated over centuries. And perhaps no tradition is observed as consistently as the Christmas Carols – with each country having its own twist, of course. The following list provides you the best Christmas songs in every European country and (mostly) a link to the lyrics in both original and English versions. Have a look at the Ukrainian, Hungarian, Norwegian and Czech songs, they will lead you directly to Christmas fairy.

Portugal

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O menino esta dormindo
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Hush! “The boy’s asleep, lying in the straw, His angels are singing, for the love of the poor child…” On Christmas Eve, this rather discreet carol is sung in front of every fireplace in the country. Most Portuguese people simply consider this 18th century canções de Natal from Évora to be the most beautiful European Christmas carol of all. But hush! Don’t say it out loud, you might wake the boy up…

O menino está dormindo
nas palhinhas despidinho. (bis)
Os anjos lhe estão cantando
por amor tão pobrezinho. (bis)

O menino está dormindo
nos braços da Virgem pura. (bis)
Os anjos lhe estão cantando:
“hossana lá na altura”. (bis)

O menino está dormindo
nos braços de São José. (bis)
Os anjos lhe estão cantando:
“Gloria tibi Domine”. (bis)

The boy’s asleep
lying in the straw, (bis)
His angels are singing:
for the love of the poor child.(bis)

The boy’s asleep
In the arms of the pure Virgen, (bis)
His angels are singing:
” Hosanna in the highest heavens”.(bis)

The boy’s asleep
In the arms of St. Joseph, (bis)
His angels are singing:
“Gloria tibi Domine”.(bis)

Spain

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Los Peces En El Rio
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The fish in the river are really excited about the birth of Jesus, and they make it very clear in this rather vivid Christmas carol. The lyrics are subject to a lot of interpretations – the most widespread being that the fishes refer to “sinners” or “believers”. And to continue on the same topic, during Christmas dinners, the locals celebrate the birth of Christ by drinking like fishes too …

La Virgen se está peinando
entre cortina y cortina
los cabellos son de oro
y el peine de plata fina.

Pero mira cómo beben los peces en el río
Pero mira cómo beben por ver al Dios nacido
Beben y beben y vuelven a beber
Los peces en el río por ver a Dios Nacer.

La Virgen está lavando
y tendiendo en el romero
los pajaritos cantando
y el romero floreciendo.

Pero mira cómo beben los peces en el río
Pero mira cómo beben por ver al Dios nacido
Beben y Beben y vuelven a Beber
Los peces en el río por ver a Dios nacer.

The Virgin is combing her hair
between the curtains.
Her hairs are of gold
and the comb of fine silver.

But look at how the fishes in the river drink.
But look how they drink in order to see God born.
They drink and they drink and they return to drink,
the fishes in the river, to see God being born.

The virgin is washing herself
with a little bit of soap.
Her hands have been irritated,
the hands of my heart.

But look at how the fishes in the river drink.
But look how they drink in order to see God born.
They drink and they drink and they return to drink,
the fishes in the river, to see God being born.

France

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Petit Papa Noël
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The iconic song Petit Papa Noël was first recorded in post-war France by singer Tino Rossi. Today, it is still the best-selling single in France ever. Let yourself be gently rocked by its chorus: “Little Santa Claus, When you come down from the sky, With thousands of toys, Don’t forget my little stocking. But before you leave you should dress well. Outside you will be so cold.

C’est la belle nuit de Noël
La neige étend son manteau blanc
Et les yeux levés vers le ciel
À genoux, les petits enfants
Avant de fermer les paupières
Font une dernière prière.

Petit papa Noël
Quand tu descendras du ciel
Avec des jouets par milliers
N’oublie pas mon petit soulier.
Mais avant de partir
Il faudra bien te couvrir
Dehors tu vas avoir si froid
C’est un peu à cause de moi.

Le marchand de sable est passé
Les enfants vont faire dodo
Et tu vas pouvoir commencer
Avec ta hotte sur le dos
Au son des cloches des églises
Ta distribution de surprises.

Petit papa Noël
Quand tu descendras du ciel
Avec des jouets par milliers
N’oublie pas mon petit soulier.
Mais avant de partir
Il faudra bien te couvrir
Dehors tu vas avoir si froid
C’est un peu à cause de moi.

Il me tarde que le jour se lève
Pour voir si tu m’as apporté
Tous les beaux joujoux que je vois en rêve
Et que je t’ai commandés.

Petit papa Noël
Quand tu descendras du ciel
Avec des jouets par milliers
N’oublie pas mon petit soulier.
Mais avant de partir
Il faudra bien te couvrir
Dehors tu vas avoir si froid
C’est un peu à cause de moi.

Et quand tu seras sur ton beau nuage
Viens d’abord sur notre maison
Je n’ai pas été tous les jours très sage
Mais j’en demande pardon.

Petit papa Noël
Quand tu descendras du ciel
Avec des jouets par milliers
N’oublie pas mon petit soulier.
Mais avant de partir
Il faudra bien te couvrir
Dehors tu vas avoir si froid
C’est un peu à cause de moi.

It’s a beautiful Christmas night
Snow spreads its white coat
And eyes lift toward the sky
On their knees, small children
Before closing their eyes
Say a last prayer.

Little Santa Claus
When you come down from the sky
With thousands of toys
Don’t forget my little stocking.
But before you leave
You should dress well
Outside you will be so cold
And it’s kind of my fault.

The sandman has passed
The children are going to sleep
And you will be able to begin,
With your sack on your back,
To the sound of church bells,
Your distribution of surprises.

Little Santa Claus
When you come down from the sky
With thousands of toys
Don’t forget my little stocking.
But before you leave
You should dress well
Outside you will be so cold
And it’s kind of my fault.

I can’t wait for sunrise
To see if you brought me
All the lovely toys that I see in my dreams
And that I ordered from you.

Little Santa Claus
When you come down from the sky
With thousands of toys
Don’t forget my little stocking.
But before you leave
You should dress well
Outside you will be so cold
And it’s kind of my fault.

And when you are on your beautiful cloud
Come first to our house
I wasn’t always very good
But I ask for your forgiveness.

Little Santa Claus
When you come down from the sky
With thousands of toys
Don’t forget my little stocking.
But before you leave
You should dress well
Outside you will be so cold
And it’s kind of my fault.

Iceland

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Snæfinnur snjókarl
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Oh yeah… “Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul, with his corncob pipe; his button nose and two eyes made out of coal”. Icelandic children and adults usually pay tribute to our happy little Frosty with a dance performed around the Christmas tree – the highlight being when one of the Yule Lads (figures from the Icelandic folklore equivalent to Santa Claus) joins the celebration, sings along and, eventually, delivers  gifts – to those who deserve them.

Snæfinnur snjókarl
var með snjáðan pípuhatt,
Gekk í gömlum skóm
og með grófum róm
gat hann talað, rétt og hratt.
“Snæfinnur snjókarl!
Bara sniðugt ævintýr,”
segja margir menn,
en við munum enn
hve hann mildur var og hýr.

En galdrar voru geymdir
í gömlu skónum hanns:
Er fékk hann þá á fætur sér
fór hann óðara í dans.
Já, Snæfinnur snjókarl,
hann var snar að lifna við,
og í leik sér brá
æði léttur þá,
-uns hann leit í sólskinið.

Snæfinnur snjókarl
snéri kolli himins til,
og hann sagði um leið:
“Nú er sólin heið
og ég soðna, hér um bil.”
Undir sig tók hann
alveg feiknamikið stökk,
og á kolasóp
inn í krakkahóp
karlinn allt í einu hrökk.
Svo hljóp hann einn,
-var ekki seinn-
og alveg niðrá torg,
og með sæg af börnum söng hann lag
bæði í sveit og höfuðborg.
Já, Snæfinnur snjókarl
allt í snatri þetta vann,
því að yfir skein
árdagssólin hrein
og hún var að bræða hann.

Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul,
With a corncob pipe and a button nose
And two eyes made out of coal.
Frosty the snowman is a fairy tale, they say,
He was made of snow but the children
Know how he came to life one day.
There must have been some magic in that
Old silk hat they found.
For when they placed it on his head
He began to dance around.
O, Frosty the snowman
Was alive as he could be,
And the children say he could laugh
And play just the same as you and me.
Thumpetty thump thump,
Thumpety thump thump,
Look at Frosty go.
Thumpetty thump thump,
Thumpety thump thump,
Over the hills of snow.

Frosty the snowman knew
The sun was hot that day,
So he said, “Let’s run and
We’ll have some fun
Now before I melt away.”
Down to the village,
With a broomstick in his hand,
Running here and there all
Around the square saying,
Catch me if you can.
He led them down the streets of town
Right to the traffic cop.
And he only paused a moment when
He heard him holler “Stop!”
For Frosty the snow man
Had to hurry on his way,
But he waved goodbye saying,
“Don’t you cry,
I’ll be back again some day.”
Thumpetty thump thump,
Thumpety thump thump,
Look at Frosty go.
Thumpetty thump thump,
Thumpety thump thump,
Over the hills of snow.

Ireland

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Wexford Carol
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The Wexford Carol, sometimes known by its first verse “Good people all this Christmas time”, is one of the oldest extant Christmas carols in the European tradition. It originated in County Wexford in the 12th century! And, like so many carols, it is all about the nativity. Traditions abound concerning the song, for example that only men should sing it given its religious content; women had to wait until the 1990s to be allowed to join in.

Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved son
With Mary holy we should pray,
To God with love this Christmas Day
In Bethlehem upon that morn,
There was a blessed Messiah born
The night before that happy tide
The noble Virgin and her guide
Were long time seeking up and down
To find a lodging in the town
But mark right well what came to pass
From every door repelled, alas
As was foretold, their refuge all
Was but a humble ox’s stall
Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep
To whom God’s angel did appear
Which put the shepherds in great fear
Arise and go, the angels said
To Bethlehem, be not afraid
For there you’ll find, this happy morn
A princely babe, sweet Jesus, born
With thankful heart and joyful mind
The shepherds went the babe to find
And as God’s angel had foretold
They did our Saviour Christ behold
Within a manger he was laid
And by his side a virgin maid
Attending on the Lord of Life
Who came on earth to end all strife
There were three wise men from afar
Directed by a glorious star
And on they wandered night and day
Until they came where Jesus lay
And when they came unto that place
Where our beloved Messiah lay
They humbly cast them at his feet
With gifts of gold and incense sweet.

United Kingdom

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We Wish You a Merry Christmas
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Every year around Christmas, we all start humming this innocent if bawdy song – which, believe it or not, is actually older than the Queen! Its origin lies in the English tradition for wealthy people of the community to give Christmas treats such as ‘figgy pudding’ to carollers on Christmas Eve. It is one of the few English Christmas carols mentioning New Year celebrations.

We wish you a Merry Christmas (x3)
and a Happy New Year.

Good tidings we bring to you and your kin
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Now! bring us some figgy pudding (x3)
and bring some out here. (or, and bring it us here)

Good tidings we bring to you and your kin
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

For we all like figgy pudding (x3)
so bring some out here.

Good tidings we bring to you and your kin
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

And we won’t go until we’ve got some (x3)
so bring some out here.

Good tidings we bring to you and your kin
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

It’s a season for music (x3)
and a time of good Cheer.

Good tidings we bring to you and your kin
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Norway

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Jeg Er Så Glad
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Jeg Er Så Glad today still remains a very popular Norwegian Christmas song. To put it bluntly: Norwegians like to sing it while running around the Christmas tree… You might say, it goes well with the lyrics: “I am so glad each Christmas Eve, The night of Jesus’ birth! Then like the sun the star shone forth, And angels sang on earth”. Just try it once, it’s liberating!

Jeg er så glad hver julekveld,
for da ble Jesus født;
da lyste stjernen som en sol,
og engler sang så søtt.

Det lille barn i Betlehem,
han var en konge stor
som kom fra himlens høye slott
ned til vår arme jord.

Nu bor han høyt i himmelrik,
han er Guds egen sønn,
men husker alltid på de små
og hører deres bønn.

Jeg er så glad hver julekveld,
da synger vi hans pris;
da åpner han for alle små
sitt søte paradis.

Da tenner moder alle lys,
så ingen krok er mørk.
Hun sier stjernen lyste så
i hele verdens ørk.

Hun sier at den lyser enn
og slokner aldri ut,
og hvis den skinner på min vei,
da kommer jeg til Gud.

Hun sier at de engler små,
de synger og i dag
om fred og fryd på jorderik
og om Guds velbehag.

I am so glad each Christmas Eve,
The night of Jesus’ birth!
Then like the sun the Star shone forth,1
And angels sang on earth.

The little Child in Bethlehem,
He was a King indeed!
For He came down from heaven above
To help a world in need.

He dwells again in heaven’s realm,
The Son of God today;
And still He loves His little ones
And hears them when they pray.

I am so glad on Christmas Eve!
His praises then I sing;
He opens then for every child
The palace of the King.2

When mother trims the Christmas tree
Which fills the room with light,
She tells me of the wondrous Star
That made the dark world bright.

She says the Star is shining still,
And never will grow dim;
And if it shines upon my way,
It leads me up to Him.

And so I love each Christmas Eve
And I love Jesus, too;
And that He loves me every day
I know so well is true.

Sweden

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Santa Lucia
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Ok… If you’re not Nordic, this tradition will just sound weird. But in Sweden, Saint Lucia’s Day is a very serious matter. Every 13 December, a young girl is elected to portray the sainted Lucia: she wears a white gown and a crown of candles, and walks at the head of a procession of women, each holding a candle. The women sing a Lucia song while entering the room, to the melody of the traditional Neapolitan song Santa Lucia.

Natten går tunga fjät
rund gård och stuva;
kring jord, som sol förlät,
skuggorna ruva.
Då i vårt mörka hus,
stiger med tända ljus,
Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia.

Natten går stor och stum
nu hörs dess vingar
i alla tysta rum
sus som av vingar.
Se, på vår tröskel står
vitklädd med ljus i hår
Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia.

Mörkret ska flykta snart
ur jordens dalar
så hon ett underbart
ord till oss talar.
Dagen ska åter ny
stiga ur rosig sky
Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia.

Night walks with a heavy step
Round yard and hearth,
As the sun departs from earth,
Shadows are brooding.
There in our dark house,
Walking with lit candles,
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

Night walks grand, yet silent,
Now hear its gentle wings,
In every room so hushed,
Whispering like wings.
Look, at our threshold stands,
White-clad with light in her hair,
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

Darkness shall take flight soon,
From earth’s valleys.
So she speaks
Wonderful words to us:
A new day will rise again
From the rosy sky…
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

Finland

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Joulumaa
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In Santa’s homeland, you can bet there are as many Christmas-related songs as there are reindeer. But this one, composed in 1978 by Katri Helena, has become a real classic over time. Joulumaa, translated as The Land of Christmas, just lets the spirit and magic of Christmas bloom… We’ve tried, but it’s simply impossible to not like it: “Christmas land is more than a fjeld and snow ; Christmas land is human imagination’s kingdom of peace”.

Joulumaahan matkamies jo moni tietä kysyy;
Sinne saattaa löytää, vaikka paikallansa pysyy
Katson taivaan tähtiä ja niiden helminauhaa
Itsestäni etsittävä on mun joulurauhaa

Joulumaa on muutakin kuin tunturi ja lunta
Joulumaa on ihmismielen rauhan valtakunta
Eikä sinne matka silloin kovin kauan kestä
Joulumaa jos jokaiselta löytyy sydämestä

Joulumaasta kuvitellaan paljon kaikenlaista
Kuinka toiveet toteutuu ja on niin satumaista
Voi, jos jostain saada voisin suuren puurokauhan
Sillä antaa tahtoisin mä maailmalle rauhan

Joulumaa on muutakin kuin pelkkää toiveunta
Joulumaa on ihmismielen rauhan valtakunta
Eikä sinne matka silloin kovin kauan kestä
Joulumaa, jos jokaiselta löytyy sydämestä

Joulumaasta uskoo moni onnen löytävänsä
Mutta sepä kätkeytyy tai narraa etsijänsä
Onnea kun mikään mylly valmiiksi ei jauha
Itsestään on löydettävä ihmisen vain rauha

Already many travellers ask for a way to Christmasland
You may find the way, even if you stay at your place
I look at the stars of the sky and their pearl necklace
I have to look for the Christmas peace from myself

Christmasland is also more than a fjeld and snow
Christmasland is human imagination’s kingdom of peace
then the journey to there won’t last for very long
if the Christmasland is found on everyone’s heart

Lots of things are imaginated about Christmasland
How the wishes are becoming true is so wondrous
Oh, if I could get a huge porridgeshovel from somewhere
I would want to give peace to the world with that

Christmasland is more than just a daydream
Christmasland is human imagination’s kingdom of peace
then the journey to there won’t last for very long
if the Christmasland is found on everyone’s heart

Many believes that they find happiness from Christmasland
But it conceals itself or fools it’s seeker
As when any mill doesn’t mill happiness completed
The person just have to find the peace from him/herself.

Denmark

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Dejlig Er Jorden
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The earth is lovely, isn’t it? Or at least that’s what the Christmas carol Dejlig er jorden is all about. The most famous Christmas song in Denmark (and the Faroe Islands) was written by the Danish composer B.S. Ingemann in 1850. Do not be fooled by appearances however, the carol is actually based on an old Silesian folksong: Schönster Herr Jesus.

Dejlig er jorden!
Prægtig er Guds Himmel!
Skøn er sjælenes pilgrimsgang!
Gennem de favre
riger på jorden
går vi til Paradis med sang.

Tider skal komme,
tider skal henrulle,
slægt skal følge slægters gang;
aldrig forstummer
tonen fra Himlen
i sjælens glade pilgrimssang.

Englene sang den
først for markens hyrder;
skønt fra sjæl til sjæl det lød:
Fred over jorden!
Menneske, fryd dig,
os er en evig frelser fød!

Beautiful is the earth!
Wonderful God’s heaven!
Lovely the path that we walk along!
Souls on the pilgrim way
through earthly kingdoms
we go to Paradise with song.

Ages shall come to be,
ages shall roll by,
each generation succeed the last;
yet shall the heav’nly sound
never fall silent –
the pilgrims’ song is unsurpassed.

Angel choirs sang it
first for watchful shepherds,
full from soul to soul that dawn:
Peace over all the earth!
People, rejoice and sing,
to us is a Redeemer born!

Netherlands

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De Herdertjes Lagen bij Nachte
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The shepherds were waiting that night, originally composed for the Dutch Catholic Church, has become very popular over the last century. The song is about a group of shepherds, who, having a lie-down in the fields, saw a heavenly light, heard an angel speak and went to look for Jesus. The Carol was recorded in 1852 by Joseph Alberdingk Thijm but was probably of older origins (17th or 18th century).

De herdertjes lagen bij nachte
Zij lagen bij nacht in het veld
Zij hielden vol trouwe de wachte
Zij hadden hun schaapjes geteld
Daar hoorden zij ‘d engelen zingen
Hun liederen vloeiend en klaar
De herders naar Bethlehem gingen
‘t liep tegen het nieuwe jaar

Toen zij er te Bethlehem kwamen
Daar schoten drie stralen dooreen
Een straal van omhoog zij vernamen
Een straal op het kribje benee
Daar vlamd’ er een straal uit hun ogen
En viel op het Kindeke teer
Zij stonden tot schreiens bewogen
En knielden bij Jesus neer

Maria die bloosde van weelde
Van ootmoed en lieflijke vreugd
De goede Sint Jozef hij streelde
Het Kindje der mensen geneugt
De herders bevalen te weiden
Hun schaapkens aan d’engelenschaar
Wij kunnen van ‘t kribje niet scheiden
Wij wachten het nieuwe jaar

Ach kindje, ach kindje, dat heden
In ‘t nederig stalletje kwaamt
Ach, laat ons uw paden betreden
Want gij hebt de wereld beschaamd
Gij kwaamt om de wereld te winnen
De machtigste vijand te slaan
De kracht uwer liefde van binnen
Kan wereld noch hel weerstaan.

Belgium

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Il est Né le Divin Enfant
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“He is born, the Heav’nly Child; Oboes play; set bagpipes sounding; He is born, the Heav’nly Child; Let all sing His nativity” So goes the chorus of this enchanting song.  It is a traditional carol, published for the first time in 1862 by R. Grosjean, organist of the Cathedral of Saint-Dié-des-Vosges. As such, it’s not really Belgian, but it has been adopted by the French-speaking community for ages – so bring out your bagpipes for an authentic Brussels Yuletide!

Il est né le divin enfant,
Jouez hautbois, résonnez musette.
Il est né le divin enfant,
Chantons tous son avènement.
Depuis plus de quatre mille ans
Nous le promettaient les prophètes,
Depuis plus de quatre mille ans
Nous attendions cet heureux temps.
Une étable est son logement,
Un peu de paille est sa couchette,
Une étable est son logement,
Pour un dieu quel abaissement.
O Jésus, ô roi tout puissant,
Tout petit enfant que vous êtes,
O Jésus, ô roi tout puissant,
Régnez sur nous entièrement.

He is born the divine child,
Play oboe, resonate musette.
He is born the divine child,
Let’s all sing his accession.
For more than four thousand years
We’ve promised by the prophets,
For more than four thousand years
We’ve been waiting for this happy time.
A stable is his lodging,
A bit of hay is his little bed,
A stable is his lodging,
For a god such a humble thing.
O Jesus, o all powerful king,
Such a little child you are,
O Jesus, o all powerful god,
Rule completely over us.

Germany

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O Tannenbaum
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O Tannenbaum may be the most famous Christmas Carol ever. It has been translated in almost all languages. The lyrics do not actually refer to Christmas, or describe a decorated tree. Instead, they relate to the evergreen fir tree’s qualities as a symbol of faithfulness. It became associated with the Christmas tree at the beginning of the 20th century – while the tune has been also repurposed by the British Labour party, turning its subject matter from green to red.

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blätter!
Du grünst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit,
Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blätter!

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!
Wie oft hat nicht zur Weihnachtszeit
Ein Baum von dir mich hoch erfreut!
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Dein Kleid will mich was lehren:
Die Hoffnung und Beständigkeit
Gibt Trost und Kraft zu jeder Zeit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Das soll dein Kleid mich lehren.

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
How loyal are your leaves/needles!
You’re green not only in the summertime,
No, also in winter when it snows.
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
How loyal are your leaves/needles!

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
You can please me very much!
How often has not at Christmastime
A tree like you given me such joy!
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree,
You can please me very much!

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
Your dress wants to teach me something:
Your hope and durability
Provide comfort and strength at any time.
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree,
That’s what your dress should teach me.

Switzerland

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Es ist für uns eine Zeit Angekommen
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Unto us a time has come is a traditional Swiss Christmas carol from the Canton of Lucerne. A secular variant of the lyrics was prepared during the Nazi era by right-wing poet Paul Hermann (1904–1970), and is still reprinted in some German songbooks. Now, a textual variant of 11 verses dating from 1957 is generally sung, re-establishing the religious content of the song.

Es ist für uns eine Zeit angekommen,
es ist für uns eine große Gnad’.
Unser Heiland, Jesus Christ,
der für uns, der für uns, der für uns Mensch geworden ist.

In der Krippe muss er liegen,
und wenn’s der härteste Felsen wär’:
Zwischen Ochs’ und Eselein
liegst du, liegst du, liegst du armes Jesulein.

Drei König’ kamen, ihn zu suchen,
der Stern führt’ sie nach Bethlehem.
Kron’ und Zepter legten sie ab,
brachten ihm, brachten ihm, brachten ihm ihre reiche Gab’.

Unto us a time has come,
it is a great grace for us.
Our saviour, Jesus Christ,
has become man for us.

In the cradle he must rest,
and if it were the hardest rock:
Between ox and donkey
you rest, poor little Jesus.

Three kings came to seek for him,
the star led them to Bethlehem.
Crown and sceptres they put down,
brought him their rich gift.

Italy

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Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle
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Tu scendi dalle stelle, meaning You come down from the stars, is Italians’ favorite song for Christmas. Italian children learn it in grade school. At Christmas, the stores pipe it through their music systems and just about every Italian can hum the tune and even knows the words. The melody and original lyrics were written by Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, a prominent Neapolitan priest.

Tu scendi dalle stelle,
O Re del Cielo,
e vieni in una grotta,
al freddo al gelo.
O Bambino mio Divino
Io ti vedo qui a tremar,
O Dio Beato
Ahi, quanto ti costò
l’avermi amato!
A te, che sei del mondo
il Creatore,
mancano panni e fuoco;
O mio Signore!
Caro eletto Pargoletto,
Quanto questa povertà
più mi innamora!
Giacché ti fece amor
povero ancora!

From starry skies descending,
Thou comest, glorious King,
A manger low Thy bed,
In winter’s icy sting;
O my dearest Child most holy,
Shudd’ring, trembling in the cold!
Great God, Thou lovest me!
What suff’ring Thou didst bear,
That I near Thee might be!
Thou art the world’s Creator,
God’s own and true Word,
Yet here no robe, no fire
For Thee, Divine Lord.
Dearest, fairest, sweetest Infant,
Dire this state of poverty.
The more I care for Thee,
Since Thou, o Love Divine,
Will’st now so poor to be.

Austria

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Stille Nacht
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Don’t mess with this one, as it was declared a piece of intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in March 2011! It is believed that Joseph Mohr was able to produce the first version of this world famous Christmas carol’s lyrics on the night of December 24th 1818 in just a few short hours. The original manuscript has been lost, but, a later manuscript was discovered in 1995 in Mohr’s handwriting and dated by researchers as c.1820.

Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
Alles schläft. Einsam wacht
Nur das traute heilige Paar.
Holder Knab’ im lockigten Haar,
Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh!

Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
Gottes Sohn! O! wie lacht
Lieb’ aus deinem göttlichen Mund,
Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund’.
Jesus! in deiner Geburt!
Jesus! in deiner Geburt!

Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
Hirten erst kundgemacht
Durch der Engel „Halleluja!“
Tönt es laut bey Ferne und Nah:
„Jesus der Retter ist da!“
„Jesus der Retter ist da!“

Silent night, holy night
All is calm all is bright
‘Round yon virgin Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heav’nly hosts sing Alleluia;
Christ the Savior is born
Christ the Savior is born

Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love’s pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

Czech Republic

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Půjdem Spolu do Betléma
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This Christmas song contrasts sharply with the others on the list. Let’s go to Bethlehem, or Půjdem spolu do Betléma in its original language, is about a group of musicians who go to Bethlehem to play different musical instruments to the new baby born Jesus. “I will rock you all day long; And you Johnny, let your pipe sound!

Půjdem spolu do Betléma,
dujdaj, dujdaj, dujdaj dá!

Ježíšku, panáčku!
Já tě budu kolíbati,
Ježíšku, panáčku!
Já tě budu kolíbat!

A ty Janku na píštalku
dudlitidy dudlitidy dudlitidy dá!

Ježíšku, panáčku!
Já tě budu kolíbati,
Ježíšku, panáčku!
Já tě budu kolíbat!

Začni Kubo na ty dudy
dujdaj dujdaj dujdaj dá!

Ježíšku panáčku!
Já tě budu kolíbati,
Ježíšku panáčku!
Já tě budu kolíbat!

A ty Mikši na housličky
hudlitidy hudlitidy hudlitidy dá!

Ježiíšku panáčku
Já tě budu kolíbati,
Ježíšku panáčku!
Já tě budu kolíbat!

A ty Vávro, na tu basu
rum rum rum ruma da!

Ježíšku panáčku!
Já tě budu kolíbati,
Ježíšku panáčku!

Let us all go to Bethlehem,
Dudaj, dudaj, dudaj, da!

Jesus, small, little boy
I will rock you in the cradle,
Jesus, small, little boy
I will rock you all day long.

And you Johnny, let your pipe sound,
Dudli, tudli, dudli, da!

Jesus, small, little boy
I will rock you in the cradle,
Jesus, small, little boy
I will rock you all day long.

Start, oh, Jimmy, on your bagpipe,
Dudaj, dudaj, dudaj, da!

Jesus, small, little boy
I will rock you in the cradle,
Jesus, small, little boy
I will rock you all day long.

And you Nicol on the violin,
Hudli, tydli, hudli, da!

Jesus, small, little boy
I will rock you in the cradle,
Jesus, small, little boy
I will rock you all day long.

And you Lawrence, let your bass play,
Rumrum, rumrum, rumrum, da!

Jesus, small, little boy
I will rock you in the cradle,
Jesus, small, little boy
I will rock you all day long.

Slovakia

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Daj Boh šťastia
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Byzantine and Orthodox Christians follow the Julian calendar and hence celebrate Christmas Eve on January 6th and Christmas Day on the 7th. But no matter: because “Blessing”, the Christmas song called Daj Boh šťastia in Slovak, is about the beauty of love and the best wishes to the people of the world. It couldn’t be more Christmassy.

Daj Boh šťastia tejto zemi,
všetkým ľuďom v nej.
Nech im slnko jasne
svieti každý Boží deň.
Nech ich sused v láske má,
nech im priazeň, pokoj dá.
Daj Boh šťastia tejto zemi
všetkým ľuďom v nej

Daj Boh šťastia celej Zemi,
všetkým národom Nech im svetlo,
hviezdy, lásky ožiaruje dom.
Hladným chleba dobrého,
chorým zdravia pevného.
Daj Boh šťastia celej Zemi,
všetkým národom.

Dopraj Bože svojmu dielu večné trvanie
nech sa samo nezahubí,
všetci prosíme.
Rybám čistej vody daj,
vtáctvo a zver zachovaj,
dopraj Bože svojmu
dielu večné trvanie.

May God grant this country,
people happiness and bliss
May the sun shine on this country,
never one day miss.
Neighbours live in unity,
help each other selflessly.
May God grant
His Slovak people happiness and bliss.

May God grant bliss
every nation on this planet Earth
May the starry light of pure love shine on every house
With good bread the hungry still,
cure all people who are ill.
May God grant bliss
every nation on this planet Earth.

May God save His whole creation,
let it bloom and thrive,
May He grant this Earth protection,
keep all things alive.
Let fish in clear water play,
birds and beasts enjoy each day.
May God save His whole creation,
let it bloom and thrive

Hungary

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Kiskarácsony, Nagykarácsony
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On Holy Night, Hungarians listen to international Christmas carols such as Silent Night – or their own homegrown Kis karácsony, nagy karácsony – which means Little Christmas, Big Christmas. It says, more or less: “Little Christmas, Big Christmas, Have you baked the cake? When it turned on, here with me, Let me eat it warm”. And if you want to know more about Christmas cakes, let us be your guest!

Kis karácsony, nagy karácsony,
Kisült-e már a kalácsom?
Ha kisült már, ide véle,
Hadd egyem meg melegébe.

Kis fenyőfa, nagy fenyőfa,
Kisült-e már a malacka?
Ha kisült már, ide véle,
Hadd egyem meg melegébe.

Jaj, de szép a karácsonyfa
Ragyog rajta a sok gyertya.
Itt egy szép könyv, ott egy labda.
Jaj de szép a karácsonyfa!

Kis karácsony, nagy karácsony,
Van-e kolbász a padláson?
Ha nincs a kolbász a padláson,
Nem ér semmit a karácsony.

Kezem, lábam, jaj, de fázik,
Csizmám sarkán jég szikrázik.
Ha szikrázik, hadd szikrázzon,
Azért van ma szép karácsony!

Béke szálljon minden házra,
Kis családra, nagy családra!
Karácsonyfa fenyőága,
Hintsél békét a világra!

Nagykarácsony éjszakája,
Krisztus születése napja,
Szűz Mária édesanyja,
Mely gondosan ápolgatja.

Poland

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Bóg Się Rodzi
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This Polish carol is regarded by some as the National Christmas hymn, and, for a short time, it was even considered a national anthem! The carol consists of five verses, each with eight lines, and each line with eight syllables. The hymn’s lyrics contains a series of apparent oxymorons: God is born, power is trembling: Lord of the Heaven exposed. Fire’s congealing, resplendence is darkening, the infinite one has boundaries.

Bóg się rodzi, moc truchleje,
Pan niebiosów obnażony;
Ogień krzepnie, blask ciemnieje,
Ma granice nieskończony.
Wzgardzony okryty chwałą,
Śmiertelny Król nad wiekami;
A Słowo Ciałem się stało
i mieszkało między nami.

Cóż masz niebo nad ziemiany?
Bóg porzucił szczęście twoje,
Wszedł między lud ukochany,
Dzieląc z nim trudy i znoje;
Nie mało cierpiał, nie mało,
Żeśmy byli winni sami,
A Słow Ciałem się stało
I mieszkało między nami.

W nędznéj szopie urodzony,
Żłób mu za kolebkę dano?
Cóż jest, czem był otoczony?
Bydło, pasterze i siano.
Ubodzy, was to spotkało
Witać Go przed bogaczami,
A Słowo Ciałem się stało
i mieszkało między nami.

Potém i Króle widziani
Cisną się między prostotą,
Niosąc dary Panu w dani:
Mirrę, kadzidło i złoto;
Bóstwo to razem zmieszało
Z wieśniaczymi ofiarami;
A Słowo Ciałem się stało
i mieszkało między nami.

Podnieś rękę, Boże Dziecię!
Błogosław krainę miłą,
W dobrych radach, w dobrym bycie
Wspieraj jéj siłę swą siłą.
Dom nasz i majętność całą,
I Twoje wioski z miastami!
A Słowo Ciałem się stało
i mieszkało między nami.

God is born and night is shaken
He the Heaven’s King lies naked.
The living Word knows brightness darkened,
He the Limitless takes limit.
Born disdained yet worship given,
Mortal, yet the Lord eternal.
Now indeed the Word made flesh
Has come on earth to dwell among us.

What hast thou, O Heaven better,
God abandoned thy perfection?
Here to share the trial and sorrow
Of His poor, beloved people.
Suffered much and suffered dearly,
For we all were guilty sinners,
Now indeed the Word made flesh
Has come on earth to dwell among us.

Born into a common stable,
He is cradled in a manager.
How then tell me what surrounds you
Hay and peace and simple shepherds.
You were ones who had the honor
Him to greet, and kings came bowing.
Now indeed the Word made flesh
Has come on earth to dwell among us.

Lithuania

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Atbėga Alnis Devyniaragis
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On Christmas morning, Lithuanian children wake up early and sing or dance to receive gifts from Kaledu Senelis or, as we know him in some parts of Europe, Santa Claus. Families visit the homes of relatives and friends and convey their greetings and well-wishes.Džiaugsmingų Šventų Kalėdų would be one of the traditional Lithuanian Christmas carols you could hear on such an occasion.

Džiaugsmingų Šventų Kalėdų,
Džiaugsmingų Šventų Kalėdų,
Džiaugsmingų Šventų Kalėdų,
Ir metų Naujų.

Per sniegą nubėgs avelių brydė,
Spindės pro eglyną Betliejaus žvaigždė.

Džiaugsmingų Šventų Kalėdų,
Džiaugsmingų Šventų Kalėdų,
Džiaugsmingų Šventų Kalėdų,
Ir metų Naujų.

Aušrinė žvaigždė padangę nušvies,
Maži piemenėliai ją sveikint skubės.

Džiaugsmingų Šventų Kalėdų,
Džiaugsmingų Šventų Kalėdų,
Džiaugsmingų Šventų Kalėdų,
Ir metų Naujų.

Per sniegą nubėgs avelių brydė,
Spindės pro eglyną Betliejaus žvaigždė.

Džiaugsmingų Šventų Kalėdų,
Džiaugsmingų Šventų Kalėdų,
Džiaugsmingų Šventų Kalėdų,
Ir metų Naujų.

Latvia

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Prieks Pasaulei
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Latvians have a special message for you: “Greetings to the world – listen to this song: That’s the morning of happiness! And forests, fields, hills, And the rocks, the streams, the clear waters, they all sing in the whistle, and jubilantly, cry in a jumble!” This is approximately the lyrics of this beautiful Latvian Christmas song called Prieks Pasaulei (Greetings to the world) that we strongly invite you to listen and sing along to.

Prieks pasaulei – Tas Kungs ir klāt!
Nu ķēniņš zemei dots!
Lai visas sirdis gavilē
Par Pestītāju pasaulē,
Un debess, zeme dzied, (x2)
Un debess, debess, zeme dzied.

Prieks pasaulei – lai dziesmas skan:
Tai ausis laimes rīts!
Un meži, lauki, pakalni
Un klintis, strauti, klajumi
Lai gaviļdziesmā trīc, (x2)
Lai gaviļu, gaviļu dziesmā trīc!

Lai grēks un naids, un rūpes zūd,
Un asaras lai žūst.
Viņš nāk pie mums ar svētību,
Nu sirdis, dzīvi piepilda,
Lai slava Glābējam, (x2)
Lai slava, slava Glābējam!

Estonia

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Jõuluingel
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This one must be in the top 5 of this list. First maybe because it’s quite rare to listen to songs in Estonian. Second, because Jõuluingel, which means Christmas Angel in English, is beautifully performed by a relaxing female voice. The lyrics say: “On Christmas Eve, an angel visits each room; Flittering there in the candle’s cascading glow; You can scarcely see her with your eye; But still you sense she wishes you well”. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Jõuluööl käib ingel igas toas,
lendleb sääl ta küünla valgusjoas.
Silmaga sa vaevalt teda näed,
siiski tunned, et ta soovib hääd.

Kuuseokstelt tõuseb jõuluhõng,
ingli juustes särab karralõng.
Paitab kaisukaru sinu peos,
räägib muinasjuttu unenäos,
räägib muinasjuttu unenäos.

Sängi heites veidi kurb on meel
kuigi kuusk jääb tuppa kauaks veel.
Ärgates sa märkad, kuidas sääl
ingli juukseid läigib okste pääl.

Jõuluööl käib ingel igas toas
lendleb sääl ta küünla valgusjoas.
Silmaga sa vaevalt teda näed,
siiski tunned, et ta soovib hääd,
siiski tunned, et ta soovib hääd.

On Christmas Eve, an angel visits each room
Flittering there in the candle’s cascading glow
You can scarcely see her with your eye
But still you sense she wishes you well.

A tinge of Christmas wafts from the tree’s branches
And in the angel’s hair, a strand of tinsel glistens.
She pets the teddy bear in your hand,
Tells a fairy tale in your dreams,
Tells a fairy tale in your dreams.

You go to bed, feeling somewhat sad
But the tree remains in the room a while longer.
Upon waking you notice how
The angel’s hair glistens there upon the branches.

On Christmas Eve, an angel visits each room
Flittering there in the candle’s cascading glow
You can scarcely see her with your eye
But still you sense she wishes you well,
But still you sense she wishes you well.

Belarus

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Nova Radost Stala
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The Orthodox Church in Belarus also still adheres to the Julian calendar. This is why all holidays are celebrated with a 13-day delay. Kaliadavanne is one of the most emblematic Christmas traditions in Belarus. Groups of dressed-up people wander from house to house, singing Kaliady songs. The master of the house visited during Kaliadavanne is supposed to give the group either sausage, snacks or sweets.

Нова радість стала,
Яка не бувала,
Над полями України
Пташечка літала. (2)

Пташечка літала,
Нам звістку принесла,
Що Вкраїна не пропала,
Україна вскресла. (2)

На Різдво раненько
Сніжок надлітає,
Мати з дітьми із Сибіру
Батька виглядає. (2)

Діти ревно плачуть,
Де наша родина?
Над Сибіром висипана
Висока могила. (2)

Там у тій могилі
Батько спочиває,
Шкода дітей, шкода неньки,
Кров ся проливає. (2)

А на небі зірка,
Ангели літають,
А на землі від гарматів
Гори ся здригають. (2)

Не лиш від гарматів,
А лише й від мінів,
Бо вороги хочуть взяти
Від нас Україну. (2)

А на небі зірка
Сонечком сіяє,
А на землю з наших братів
Кров ся проливає. (2)

Український тризуб,
Українське поле —
Вже не буде в Україні
Неволі ніколи. (2)

О, Пречиста Діво,
Глянь на нас із неба,
Та дай же нам ту свободу,
Якої нам треба. (2)

A new joy has now appeared,
That has never been there,
Above the fields of Ukraine there
A small bird was flying. (2)

A small bird was flying,
Bringing us the news,
That Ukraine has not perished,
Ukraine has resurrected, (2)

On Christmas early morning
The snow has been falling,
A mother with children from
Siberia seeks their father. (2)

The children cry out loud,
Where is our family?
Over in Siberia there is
A great burial mound. (2)

There in that burial mound
Our father reposes
Pitty the children, pitty the mother,
The Blood does flow there. (2)

But in heaven there’s a star,
There the Angels do fly,
And on earth from the cannons
The mountains do tremble. (2)

Not only from cannon,
But also from the mineing,
For the enemies wants to take
Ukraine away from us. (2)

In heaven there’s a star
Shinning with the sun,
On earth our brother’s blood flows
The Blood does flow here. (2)

The Ukrainian Trident,
The Ukrainian meadows –
There will no longer in Ukraine
Be bondage no never. (2)

Oh, Most Pure Virgin,
Look upon us from heaven,
And grant to us that freedom,
That we here do need so. (2)

Ukraine

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The wonderful Christmas Carol Shchedryk was arranged by composer and teacher Mykola Leontovych in 1916, and tells the story of a swallow flying into a household to sing of the wealth that will come the following spring. The song is based on a traditional folk chant whose language was thought to have magical properties. Shchedryk was later adapted as an English Christmas carol under the name Carol of the Bells.

Shchedryk shchedryk, shchedrivochka,
pryletila lastivochka,
stala sobi shchebetaty,
hospodarya vyklykaty:
“Vyydy, vyydy, hospodaryu,
podyvysya na kosharu,
tam ovechky pokotylys’,
a yahnychky narodylys’.
V tebe tovar ves’ khoroshyy,
budesh’ maty mirku hroshey,
V tebe tovar ves’ khoroshyy,
budesh’ maty mirku hroshey,
khoch ne hroshey, to polova:
v tebe zhinka chornobrova.”
Shchedryk shchedryk, shchedrivochka,
pryletila lastivochka.

Shchedryk, shchedryk, a shchedrivka [New Year’s carol];
A little swallow flew [into the household]
and started to twitter,
to summon the master:
“Come out, come out, O master [of the household],
look at the sheep pen,
there the ewes are nestling
and the lambkin have been born
Your goods [livestock] are great,
you will have a lot of money, [by selling them]

if not money, then chaff: [from all the grain you will harvest]
you have a dark-eyebrowed [beautiful] wife.”
Shchedryk, shchedryk, a shchedrivka,
A little swallow flew.

Moldova

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Sfanta i Seara de Craciun
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Something unique for Christmas in Moldova is the tradition of carols or colinde. The idea is that children, and some adults walk door to door to congratulate their neighbors, friends, or relatives with the coming of Christmas. The practice of singing colinde historically corresponded with the practice of dressing up as animals or masquerading as demons or other figures. These colinde were often themed around hunts, animals that spoke, and the cult of the dead.

Haide gazda si te scoala,
Nu mai sta cu masa goala,
Sfanta-i Sara de Craciun.

C-au ajuns colindatorii,
In tarnat, pa dunga scarii
Sfanta-i Sara de Craciun.

Si de-amu’ or si in tinda,
Prinde gazda flori la grinda,
Sfanta-i Sara de Craciun.

Si pa masa ar si bine
Sa pui cinci uiegi mai pline,
Sfanta-i Sara de Craciun.

Sa ne-ajunga de cinstire,
La multi ani cu fericire!
Sfanta-i Sara de Craciun.

Romania

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O, Ce Veste Minunată
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O, ce veste minunată is a very popular Christmas carol, sung primarily in Romanian-speaking communities and countries. The text states “O what great news! Is shown to us in Bethlehem! Today has been born, the One without a beginning, As the Prophets foretold!” It is attributed to Dumitru Kiriac-Georgescu (1866-1928) who is associated with much Romanian traditional music.

O, ce veste minunată!
În Betleem ni s-arată.
Astăzi s-a născut cel făr’ de-nceput,
Cum au spus prorocii.

Că la Betleem Maria,
Săvârşind călătoria
Într-un mic sălaş, lângă-acel oraş,
A născut pe Mesia.

Pe Fiul în al sau nume,
Tatăl l-a trimis in lume.
Să se nască, şi să crească,
Să ne mântuiască.

O what great news!
Is shown to us in Bethlehem!
Today has been born, the One without a beginning,
As the Prophets foretold!

That in Bethlehem Mary,
Having completed the trip,
In a little space, near that town,
She bore the Messiah

His Son in His Own Name,
The Father has sent into the world!
To be born and to grow,
To absolve us!

Slovenia

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Bela Snežinka
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The song Bela Snežinka has become a very popular Christmas carol in Slovenia over the last few years. The Slovenian song, translated in English as White Snowflake is the most played Slovenian holiday song. Too much, according to some: the version of the song performed by the Veter ensemble topped the list of the 100 most overplayed Christmas and holiday Slovenian songs.

Bela snežinka, ki pada,
spominja me nate
in na vse tiste dni, noči.

Ko sem te vprašal, me ljubiš,
si mi zmajala z glavo,
rekla mi nisi besede,
čakal zaman sem to.

Sivi oblaki na nebu,
jasno nebo so zastrli,
bela snežinka, ki pada,
glej prvi sneg

Sneg gre, glej zunaj sneg gre,
glej zunaj sneg gre,
morda se spomniš še enkrat name.
Sneg gre, glej zunaj sneg gre,
glej zunaj sneg gre,
morda se spomniš še enkrat name.

Bela snežinka, ki pada,
spominja me nate
in na vse tiste dni, noči.

Bela snežinka, ki pada,
spominja me nate
in na vse tiste dni, noči.

When I asked you, do you love me,
you shook your head, you never said a word,
I waited for it in vain.

Grey clouds in the sky,
covered the clear skies,
a white snowflake, falling,
look, first snow.

It’s snowing, look, it’s snowing outside,
look, it’s snowing outside,
perhaps you’ll remember me once again.
It’s snowing, look, it’s snowing outside,
look, it’s snowing outside,
perhaps you’ll remember me once again.

A white snowflake, falling,
reminds me of you
and of all those days, nights.

A white snowflake, falling,
reminds me of you
and of all those days, nights.

Croatia

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Veselje Ti Navješćujem
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With more than 500 songs, the number of Croatian Christmas carols is surprisingly large for such a small country. There are Christmas verses that can have a dozen different melodies, varying considerably from region to region. Veselje ti navješćujem (I’m announcing you joy) is a traditional carol and is known in more than 50 different melodic versions in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Veselje ti navješćujem,
puče kršćanski.
Jerbo se kralj u Betlemu
rodi nebeski.

Još mali, u štali,
Kog stvorenje svako slavi
Štuje, diči, jer je pravi
On naš Spasitelj
i Otkupitelj.
Pored njega stoji Majka,
Djeva Marija.
Pa sveg svijeta Spasitelja
lijepo povija.

Njeg doji i goji,
Uspavljuje njegujući
“Spavkaj, spavkaj” pjevajući
U toj štalici,
sve na slamici.

Serbia - Kosovo

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Noć Prekrasna
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This Serbian Orthodox Christmas Carol is also worth listening to. Bozicna pesma means “the Angels sing” and is just as beautiful as Christmas. If you want to sing along, the lyrics say: “The night so grand and placid, a star shining over the cave, the mother sleeping in the cave, where the angel of Jesus has been, The angels are singing”.

Noć prekrasna i noć tija,
nad pećinom zvezda sija,
u pećini mati spi,
nad Isusom andjel bdi.

Andjeli pevaju,
pastiri sviraju,
andjeli pevaju
mudraci javljaju:
Što narodi čekaše,
što proroci rekoše,
evo sad se u svet javi,
u svet javi i objavi:
Rodi nam se Hristos Spas
za spasenje sviju nas.
Aliluja, aliluja,
Gospodi pomiluj!

The night so grand and placid,
a star shining over the cave,
the mother sleeping in the cave,
where the angel of Jesus hast been.

The angels are singing,
the sheperds are fluting,
the angels are singing,
the wise bring it forth:
What the nations awaited,
what the prophets had said,
here and now it is announced,
it is announced and brought forth:
Christ, our Redeemer is born!
for the Salvation of us all.
Alleluia, Alleluia,
Lord, have mercy!

Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Narodi Nam Se
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This beautiful Christmas carol, composed in the 13th century, is very popular in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It means Unto Us Was Born the Heavenly King. Christmas, or Bozic in Bosnian, is a time of traditions, festivities and food. It is also a time of tolerance between Muslims, Orthodox and Catholic. When you’re travelling in Bosnia, you’ll see plenty of happy children awaiting the arrival of Djeda Mraz, Grandfather frost.

Albania

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Krishti i Vogël
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The population of Albania is a mix of Muslims and Christians. But Christmas in Albania is unique, what with both the communities celebrating the occasion with almost equal fervour. At Christmas, Albanians exchange gifts with their friends and family members. This beautiful Christmas carol celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. It means something like Small Christ anointed us today.

Bulgaria

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Дядо Мраз
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In this country, Santa Claus is known as Dyado Koleda (Дядо Коледа), which means Grandfather Christmas. This is also the name of this energetic Bulgarian Christmas song which is one of the most famous carols in the country. Try to follow the lyrics, it is just heartwarming: “Tink tink, tink, tink, tink, tink, Who’s there? Who’s there? Who will come to this hour, Here comes Santa Claus!

Зън-зън, зън-зън, зън-зън,
Кой е вън? Кой е вън?
Кой ще дойде в този час,
тук пристига Дядо Мраз.

Искам още го зърна,
от сърце да го прегърна,
че си знам, че си знам,
той ми носи дар голям.

Зън-зън, зън-зън, зън-зън,
Кой е вън? Кой е вън?
Кой ще дойде в този час,
Тук пристига Дядо Мраз,

Искам още го зърна,
от сърце да го прегърна,
че си знам, че си знам,
той ми носи дар голям. (х2)

Tink tink, tink, tink, tink, tink,
Who’s there? Who’s there?
Who will come to this hour
Here comes Santa Claus.

I even saw him,
wholeheartedly embraced him,
you know you know
He gave me a great gift.

Tink tink, tink, tink, tink, tink,
Who’s there? Who’s there?
Who will come to this hour
Here comes Santa Claus.

I even saw him,
wholeheartedly embraced him,
you know you know
He gave me a great gift. (x2)

Macedonia

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Вечниот Бог
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We are slowly coming to an end of this European tour of Christmas Carols, but we are not done with discoveries yet. In Macedonia, children tend to sing Вечниот Бог on Christmas Eve – a traditional Byzantine Christmas Carol which approximately sings: “Eternal God who came down to Virgin Mary, Holy, holy, holy, holy God; King of Adam and God came to us

Вечниот Бог слезе и во Дева се всели
Свет, Свет, Свет си и Пресвет Господи;
Царот на сите и Господ, дојде Адам да го преобрази;
Луѓе радувајте се, играјте, ангели веселете се;
Прими Го Витлееме Господ твој, Царот на сите и Владика;
Мудреци од Исток доаѓаат, дарови да принесат достојни;
Да се поклонат на Господа, во пештера родениот;
Кога слушна Ирод за настанот, целиот се потресе злобниот;
Вака вели на свештениците, кои Му служат на Господа;
Кажете ми мудри учители, каде треба Он да се роди;
Обземен од бура на помисли, Јосиф намисли да Ја отпушти;
Ноќта, пак, во сонот слушна глас, ангел Господов му проговори;
Денес сета твар да се радува, нек҆ торжествува и се весели;
Светлина на светот му засветли и тие во мракот ги осветли;
Сите на Христа да Му пееме, Он заради нас се воплоти;
О, Дево, Мајко, Владичице, спаси ги христијаните.

Greece

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ΚΑΛΗΝ ΕΣΠΕΡΑΝ ΑΡΧΟΝΤΕΣ
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‘Good Evening My Lords’ is a traditional Greek Christmas carol sung door to door by Greek children on Christmas eve. The master of the house usually gives them some money or sweets such as kourabiedes. The song is also played and sung at 12 midnight on Christmas Day.

Καλήν εσπέραν άρχοντες,
Κι αν εί- κι αν είναι ορισμός σας
Χριστού την θεία γέννηση
Να πω- να πω στ’ αρχοντικό σας,
Χριστός γεννάται σήμερον
Εν Βη- εν Βηθλεέμ τη πόλη,
Οι ουρανοί αγάλλονται,
Χαίρε- χαίρετ’ η φύσις όλη,
Εν τω σπηλαίω τίκτεται,
Εν φά- εν φάτνη των αλόγων,
Ο βασιλεύς των ουρανών
Και ποι- και ποιητής των όλων.
Πλήθος αγγέλων ψάλλουσι
το Δόξα εν Υψίστοις
και τούτο άξιον εστί
η των ποιμένων πίστις.
Εκ της Περσίας έρχονται
τρεις μάγοι με τα δώρα
άστρο λαμπρό τους οδηγεί
χωρίς να λείψει ώρα.

Good evening to you noblemen
And if it is your wish
In praise here at your mansion,
Of Jesus’ birth I’ll sing.
Jesus Christ was born today
in town of Bethlehem
The skies above rejoicing
All nature satisfied.
T’was in a cave that he was born
And in a manger laid
The king of all the skies above
And maker of all things.
Angelic hosts are singing
All glory be to God
And holy be to shepherds
And to their faithfulness.
From Persia are arriving
Three magi with their gifts
The brightest star has led them there
No hour have they delayed.

If you liked this article, you may also like European Christmas CakesNew Year Traditions, Nursery Rhymes and Toasts.

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