Silent Night

Silent Night ChristmasSilent Night is the most famous Christmas carol of all time and has been a favorite the world over for almost 200 years, when it first came into being. It is said that there exist over 300 translations of the song in the world with over 200 different versions. Any Christmas seems incomplete without a rendition of Silent Night and the song is generally sung without any musical accompaniment. The melody of the song is set in a simple rustic tune to allow for easy singing.

History and folklore

The story goes that on Christmas Eve in 1818, the organ at St. Nicholas Church in a small village (Oberndorf) in Austria broke down. The priest, Father Josef Mohr who was to conduct the Service, was at his wits end. He suddenly remembered that two years before he had written a poem ‘Silent Night’ but that it had not been set in tune. He contacted his school teacher friend Franz Xavier Gruber, a musician by heart. Gruber set the poem in a simple tune so that it could be sung by the church choir with little practice. The song was a big hit and the rest, as they say, is history. It was sung in front of King Frederick William of Prussia in 1934 and then it traveled to America in 1939 where it found immediate acceptance.

Song trivia

  1. Since it was probably the only Christmas carol that both the sides knew, Silent Night was sung by both English as well as German soldiers during the Christmas truce that was observed on 25th December, 1914.
  2. It was sung by an off screen choir at the end of ‘A Christmas Carol’, the movie version of the famous book of the same name by Charles Dickens.

Reason for popularity

  • The song is quiet and philosophical and conveys a deep feeling of serenity.
  • In its simple way it tells the believers that Jesus our Lord and Savior has been born.

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