25 Christmas Songs from Around the World

cover photo: Children Singing Christmas Carols In A Street Of London In 1960
UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 12: Young Children Singing Traditional Christmas Carols, Despite The Snow, In London On December 12, 1960. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

There are so many beautiful and interesting Christmas songs from all over the world that we never hear on the radio. This list will only be songs that are Catholic (or at least Protestant, but most are Catholic), in origin. Some may not be the original arrangement. They are in no particular order.

 Let’s take the time to appreciate our roots and thank God for the little things that make our heritage’s beautiful this Advent season.


Listen to these songs on Spotify!


#25.

Ireland

O The Holly She Bears A Berry

The Chieftains

O the holly she bears a berry, as white as the milk
And Mary, she bore Jesus all wrapped up in silk

Chorus:
And Mary she bore Jesus,our savior for to be
And the first tree that’s in the greenwood
It was the holly.

O the holly she bears a berry, as green as the grass
And Mary, she bore Jesus who died on the cross

Chorus

O the holly she bears a berry, as blood it is red
We trust in our savior who rose from the dead


#24.

Ireland

The Cherry Tree Carol

A ballad with the rare distinction of being both a Christmas carol and one of the Child Ballads (no. 54) The song itself is very old, reportedly sung in some form at the Feast of Corpus Christi in the early 15th century. The versions eventually collected by Francis James Child are thought to be a combination of up to three separate carols that merged through the centuries.

LYRICS:

When Joseph was an old man, an old man was He; he wedded Virgin Marry, the Queen of Galilee, he wedded Virgin Marry, the Queen of Galilee.

When Joseph was married and brought Mary home; Mary was with Child and Joseph hadn’t known. Mary was with Child and Joseph hadn’t known.

As they went a walkin in the garden so green, there were cherries and berries, hanging from a tree, there were cherries and berries, hanging from a tree.

Up then spoke Mary, so meek and so mild, said Joseph pluck some cherries for I am with child, said Joseph pluck some cherries for I am with child.

In anger spoke Joseph in anger spoke he, “Let the father of your baby pluck berries for thee.” “Let the father of your baby pluck berries for thee.”

Then out spoke Baby Jesus from His Mothers womb, Mary shall have cherries and Joseph shall have none, Mary shall have cherries and Joseph shall have none.

Then down bowed the cherry tree, all down to the ground, and Mary plucked cherries while Joseph stood around, and Mary plucked cherries while Joseph stood around.

As Joseph was a walkin’ he heard angels sing, this night shall be born our Heavenly King, this night shall be born our Heavenly King.


#23

Germany

Es Kommt Ein Schiff Geladen / A Ship Is Coming Laden

Die Priester

An Advent season chorale and Marian Hymn. It is one of the oldest religious songs of German origin.

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#22

Germany

Maria Durch Ein’ Dornwald Ging / Maria walks amid the thorns

Helene Fischer

“Maria durch ein Dornwald ging” (English: “Maria walks amid the thorns”, or “Mary walked through a wood of thorn”) is a Christmas carol. By origin it was not an advent but a pilgrimage song that initially was spread verbally in the 19th century, starting in the catholic Eichsfeld.

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#21

Galicia

Nadal de Luíntra / Luintra Carol

Berrogüetto

Traditional Galician song about Saint Joseph and the Blessed Mother looking for a place to stay on Christmas Eve and finding no room at the inns.


#20

Bohemia

Narodil se Kristus pán / The Lord Christ Was Born

“Narodil se Kristus pán” (The Lord Christ Was Born), in English version “Be joyful, Earth and starry sky” is a Czech Christmas carol and Christian hymn. The text and melody come from the oldest preserved record of the song in Latin (“En Virgo parit filium”) and Czech in the Gradual of the Czech Silver Museum in Kutná Hora, written in the late 15th century, but the song itself is considered to be older. Some historians date it back to the 13th century, while others believe it is originally a Hussite hymn from the first decades of the 15th century. The song is regarded as the most popular Czech carol and it is sung regularly today at the end of catholic Mass and other Christian worship services in the Czech Republic during Christmas time.

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#19

Czech Origin

The Zither Carol

 Westminster Abbey Choir & Martin Neary

Originally a Czech folk tune (Sedlák, sedlák) with 1958 English lyrics by Malcolm Sargent.

LYRICS:

Girls and boys, leave your toys, make no noise,
Kneel at his crib and worship him.
For this shrine, child divine, is the sign, our Saviour’s here.

Alleluia the church bells ring, Alleluia the Angels sing,
Alleluia from everything all must draw near.

On that day, far away, Jesus lay,
Angels were watching round his head.
Holy child, Mother mild, undefiled, we sing your praise.

Alleluia the church bells ring, Alleluia the Angels sing,
Alleluia from everything all must draw near.

Shepherds came at the fame of your name,
Angels their guide to Bethlehem.
In that place, saw your face filled with grace, stood at your door.

Alleluia the church bells ring, Alleluia the Angels sing,
Alleluia from everything all must draw near.


#18

Croatia

Veseli se, Majko Božja / Rejoice, Mother of God

Klapa Intrade 

A Croatian Christmas song, which originated in Dalmatia. Composed by Vladoje Bersa in 1906.

Loosely translated below:


#17

China

輪明月歌 / The Moon and Stars of Christmas Eve

Poetry by Mingyue Hanxing and composed by Bliss Wiant 1934.

Loosely translated:

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#16

Lebanon

Maryam El Bekre (مريم البكر) / O Virgin Mary

Fairuz

Nouhad Wadie’ Haddad known as Fairuz is a Lebanese singer. This song was released in 1994.

 Lyrics Loosely Translated:

O Virgin Mary, the sun and the sun rose,

and every star with the heavenly sky was secret.

O Mother of Jesus, my mother and my hope,

do not neglect me when I have sinned.

Original: 

يا مريم البكر فقتى     الشمس والقمرا     وكل نجم بأفلاك     السماء سرى

يا نجمة الصبح شعى    فى معابدنا      ونورى عقلنا   والسمع والبصر

يا أم يسوع يا أمى       ويا أملى       لا تهملينى متى  منى الخطا صدرا

أنت ملاذى وعونى     كلما ضعفت     نفسى وجبرا لقلبى      كلما انكسرا


#15

France

Minuit, Chrétiens / Midnight, Christians

Roberto Alagna

Well known in the english version, “O Holy Night.” But this song was originally an 1867 French song, composed by Adolphe Adam and Placide Cappeau. The lyrics are what really make the song beautiful, it gives me goosebumps everytime!

This literal translation was provided by Todd Victor Leone:

Minuit, chrétiens, c’est l’heure solennelle
Où l’Homme-Dieu descendit jusqu’à nous,
Pour effacer la tache originelle,
Et de son Père arrêter le courroux.
Le monde entier tressaille d’espérance,
À cette nuit qui lui donne un Sauveur.
Peuple, à genoux, attends ta délivrance
Noël! Noël! Voici le Rédempteur!
Noël! Noël! Voici le Rédempteur!

 

Midnight, Christians, it is the solemn hour
When God as man descended among us
To expunge the stain of original sin
And to put an end to the wrath of his father.
The entire world thrills with hope
On this night which gives us a savior.
People, on your knees, (attend / await) your deliverance.
Christmas! Christmas! Here is the Redeemer!
Christmas! Christmas! Here is the Redeemer!

De notre foi que la lumière ardente
Nous guide tous au berceau de l’Enfant,
Comme autrefois une étoile brillante
Y conduisit les chefs de l’Orient.
Le Roi des rois naît dans une humble crèche;
Puissants du jour, fiers de votre grandeur,
À votre orgueil, c’est de là que Dieu prêche.
Courbez vos fronts devant le Rédempteur!
Courbez vos fronts devant le Rédempteur!

The ardent light of our Faith,
Guides us all to the cradle of the infant,
As in ancient times a brilliant star
Conducted the Magi there from the orient.
The King of kings was born in a humble manger;
O mighty ones of today, proud of your grandeur,
It is to your pride that God preaches.
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!

Le Rédempteur a brisé toute entrave,
La Terre est libre et le Ciel est ouvert.
Il voit un frère où n’était qu’un esclave,
L’amour unit ceux qu’enchaînait le fer.
Qui lui dira notre reconnaissance?
C’est pour nous tous qu’il naît, qu’il souffre et meurt.
Peuple, debout! Chante ta délivrance.
Noël! Noël! Chantons le Rédempteur!
Noël! Noël! Chantons le Rédempteur!

The Redeemer has broken all shackles.
The earth is free and heaven is open.
He sees a brother were there was once but a slave;
Love unites those who restrain the sword.
Who will tell him our gratitude?
It is for us all that he was born, that he suffered and died.
People, stand up, sing your deliverance!
Christmas! Christmas! Let us sing the Redeemer!
Christmas! Christmas! Let us sing the Redeemer!


#14

France

Marche des rois mages / The March of the Magi

Marie Michèle Desrosiers

Christmas carol of the 18th century. The words are attributed to  Joseph-François Domergue (1691-1729), whose name appears on the first handwritten copy dated 1742 and kept in the library of Avignon.

French Lyrics With English Translation

1 De bon matin
J’ai rencontré le train
De trois grands rois qui allaient en voyage.
De bon matin
J’ai rencontré le train
De trois grands rois dessus le grand chemin.
Venaient d’abord
Les gardes du corps,
Des gens armés avec trente petits pages,
Venaient d’abord
Les gardes du corps,
Des gens armés dessus leurs justaucorps.
1 Early in the morning
I came across the procession
Of three great kings going on a journey.
Early in the morning
I came across the procession
Of three great kinds on the great road.
First there came
The troup of guards,
Armed men, with thirty little pages;
First there came
The troup of guards,
Men armed atop their tunics.
2 Puis sur un char
Doré de toutes parts
On voit trois rois modestes comm’ des anges.
Puis sur un char
Doré de toutes parts
Trois rois debout parmi les étendards.
L’étoile luit
Et les rois conduit
Par longs chemins devant une pauvre étable.
L’étoile luit
Et les rois conduit
Par longs chemins devant l’humble réduit.
2 Then, on a chariot
Gilded on all sides,
One sees three kings as modest as angels.2
Then, on a chariot
Gilded on all sides,
Three kings standing amidst the standards.
The star shines
And leads the kings
By long roads before a poor stable.
The star shines
and leads the kings
By long roads before the humble shed.
Au fils de Dieu
Qui naquit en ce lieu
Ils viennent tous présenter leurs hommages
Au fils de Dieu
Qui naquit en ce lieu
Ils viennent tous présenter leurs doux vœux.
De beaux présents
Or, myrrhe et encens
Ils vont offrir au maître tant admirable,
De beaux présents
Or, myrrhe et encens
Ils vont offrir au bienheureux enfant.
3 To the Son of God
Who was born in this place
They come to present their respects.
To the Son of God
Who was born in this place
They come to present their dear prayers.
Fine presents,
Gold, myrrh, and incense,
They are going to offer to the master so admirable.
Fine presents,
Gold, myrrh, and incense,
They are going to offer to the blessed child.

#13

France

Un Flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle / Bring A Torch, Jeannette, Isabelle

A Christmas carol which originated from the Provence region of France in the 17th century. The carol was first published in France, and was subsequently translated into English in the 18th century. The song was originally not meant to be sung at Christmas; it was considered dance music for French nobility.

It seems likely that the melody was written by Charpentier, derived from the air à boire Qu’ils sont doux, bouteille jolie from the now lost Le médecin malgré lui.

The song title refers to two female farmhands who have found the baby and his mother in a stable. Excited by this discovery, they run to a nearby village to tell the inhabitants, who rush to see the new arrivals. Visitors to the stable are urged to keep their voices quiet, so the newborn can enjoy his dreams.

To this day, on Christmas Eve in the Provence region, children dressed as shepherds and milkmaids carry torches and candles while singing the carol, on their way to Midnight Mass.

Lyrics

English
Bring a torch, Jeanette, Isabella!
Bring a torch, to the stable call
Christ is born. Tell the folk of the village
Jesus is born and Mary’s calling.
Ah!* Ah! beautiful is the Mother!
Ah! Ah! beautiful is her child
Who is that, knocking on the door?
Who is it, knocking like that?
Open up, we’ve arranged on a platter
Lovely cakes that we have brought here
Knock! Knock! Open the door for us!
Knock! Knock! Let’s celebrate!
It is wrong when the child is sleeping,
It is wrong to talk so loud.
Silence, now as you gather around,
Lest your noise should waken Jesus.
Hush! Hush! see how he slumbers;
Hush! Hush! see how fast he sleeps!
Softly now unto the stable,
Softly for a moment come!
Look and see how charming is Jesus,
Look at him there, His cheeks are rosy!
Hush! Hush! see how the Child is sleeping;
Hush! Hush! see how he smiles in dreams!
French
Un flambeau, Jeanette, Isabelle —
Un flambeau! Courons au berceau!
C’est Jésus, bonnes gens du hameau.
Le Christ est né; Marie appelle!
Ah! Ah! Que la Mère est belle,
Ah! Ah! Que l’Enfant est beau!
Qui vient là, frappant de la sorte?
Qui vient là, en frappant comme ça?
Ouvrez-donc, j’ai posé sur un plat
De bons gâteaux, qu’ici j’apporte
Toc! Toc! Ouvrons-nous la porte!
Toc! Toc! Faisons grand gala!
C’est un tort, quand l’Enfant sommeille,
C’est un tort de crier si fort.
Taisez-vous, l’un et l’autre, d’abord!
Au moindre bruit, Jésus s’éveille.
Chut! chut! Il dort à merveille,
Chut! chut! Voyez comme il dort!
Doucement, dans l’étable close,
Doucement, venez un moment!
Approchez! Que Jésus est charmant!
Comme il est blanc! Comme il est rose!
Do! Do! Que l’Enfant repose!
Do! Do! Qu’il rit en dormant! [2]
(*) The word Hark! or Hush is sometimes substituted for Ah!

#12

Italy

Gesu Bambino / The Infant Jesus

The Vienna Boys Choir & Luciano Pavarotti

When blossoms flowered ‘mid the snows upon a winter night
Was born the Child the Christmas Rose, The King of Love and Light
The angels sang, the shepherds sang, The grateful earth rejoiced
And at His blessed birth the stars Their exultation voiced.

O Come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Again the heart with rapture glows to greet the holy night
that gave the world its Christmas Rose, its king of Love and Light
Let ev’ry voice acclaim His name, The grateful chorus swell
From paradise to earth He came that we with Him might dwell

O come let us adore him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Ah! O come let us adore Him
Ah! Adore Him, Christ, the Lord.
O come, O come
O come let us adore Him
Let us adore Him
Christ, the Lord.

Caro Gesù Bambino


#11

Italy

Tu Scendi Dalle Stele / From Starry Skies Thou Comest

Andrea Bocelli

A Christmas carol from Italy, written in 1732 in Nola by Saint Alphonsus Liguori in the musical style of a pastorale. Though found in numerous arrangements and commonly sung, it is traditionally associated with the zampogna, or large-format Italian bagpipe.

Here are the lyrics to Tu scendi dalle stelle from Italy, in Italian and with an English translation…

Tu scendi dalle stelle
(Italian)

Tu scendi dalle stelle
O Re del Cielo
E vieni in una grotta
Al freddo al gelo.
E vieni in una grotta
Al freddo al gelo.

O Bambino mio Divino
Io ti vedo qui a tremar,
O Dio Beato
Ah, quanto ti costò
L’avermi amato.
Ah, quanto ti costò
L’avermi amato.

A te che sei del mondo,
Il creatore
Mancano panni e fuoco,
O mio Signore.
Mancano panni e fuoco,
O mio Signore.

Caro eletto, Pargoletto,
Quanto questa povertà,
Piu m’innamora
Giacche ti fece amor
Povero ancora.
Giacche ti fece amor
Povero ancora.

Here’s a rough English translation of Tu scendi dalle stelle by Monique Palomares…

You Come Down from the Stars
(English)

You come down from the stars
Oh King of Heavens,
And you come in a cave
In the cold, in the frost.
And you come in a cave
In the cold, in the frost.

Oh my Divine Baby
I see you trembling here,
Oh Blessed God,
Ah, how much it cost you,
Your loving me.
Ah, how much it cost you,
Your loving me.

For you, who are of all the world
The creator,
No robes and fire,
Oh my Lord.
No robes and fire,
Oh my Lord.

Dear chosen one, little infant
This dire poverty,
Makes me love you more
Since Love made you
Poor now.
Since Love made you
Poor now.


#10

Poland

Jezus Malusienki / Baby Jesus is Crying

The origin of the song is difficult to determine, but it appears in the eighteenth-century manuscripts from Carmelite nuns from Krakow ( Carmelite Kantyczki ) and Benedictine nuns from Staniątki.

TRANSLATION:

Baby Jesus is crying
In the cold He is weeping,
For the winter frosts are biting
Thro’ the hay which enfolds Him,
For the winter frosts are biting
Round His head as He’s lying.

No soft down for His head,
Only hay for His bed,
Tho’ His mother hugs and holds Him,
And the shepherds adore Him,
Yet the winter frosts are biting
As wise men by star are led.


#9

Italy

Wśród Nocnej Ciszy / In the Night’s Stillness

Krzysztof Krawczyk

A popular Polish Christmas carol from the turn of 18th and 19th centuries.

The Australian poet, Peter Skrzynecki, has a poem titled “Wśród nocnej ciszy” (p. 102 of his Old World/New World anthology), which puts forward the idea that sometimes the real meaning of Christmas is lost, amongst our many Christmas cultural traditions.

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#8

Poland

Lulajże Jezuniu / Lullaby Jesu

Magda Welc

Polish lullaby of a lullaby character , was most probably created in the second half of the 17th century .

The earliest preserved version of the text comes from the collection from 1705, which is kept in the Archdiocesan Archives in Poznań . The carol text entries also include in manuscripts stored in the Benedictine monastery in Staniątki : two cannons by Gąsiorowska from 1754 and 1758 and the so-called Kiernicka’s kancjonale of 1754 (the carol itself was dated there in 1738). It was also placed in two eighteenth-century manuscript Franciscan cannons and one Carmelite manuscript from the late 18th century with the second part of Chybiński’s canticle . The text of the carol print was printed by the Lviv edition annexe Szlichtynów in the set kantyczek first in 1767, then in 1785 .

Translated from the Polish by Alice Zienko, English version by Ruth Heller

Source: Ruth Heller, Christmas: It’s Carols, Customs and Legends. Minneapolis: Schmitt, Hall & McCreary Company, 1948).

1. Lullaby, Jesu, my pearl and my dear one.
Lullaby, Jesu, my sweet, precious Son.
There, up above You, God’s angels are winging;
They, too, do love You; o’er You they are watching.

2. Lullaby, Jesu, like stars are Your eyes, —
Lullaby, Jesu, now hush Your low cries. —
‘Round You the kind beasts and dear birds are standing;
They, too, do love You; o’er You they are watching.

3. Lullaby, Jesu, my flower of beauty,
Lullaby, Jesu, Thy Mother shall rock Thee.
Near You the shepherds in rev’rence are kneeling;
They, too, do love You; o’er You they are watching.


#7

Canada

Jesous Ahathonhia /Jesus, he is born

Sultans of String feat. Crystal Shawanda

A Canadian Christmas hymn (Canada’s oldest Christmas song), written probably in 1642 by Jean de Brébeuf, a Jesuit missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Canada. Brébeuf wrote the lyrics in the native language of the Huron/Wendat people; the song’s original Huron title is “Jesous Ahatonhia” (“Jesus, he is born”).

Lyrics:

Ehstehn yayau deh tsaun we yisus ahattonnia
O na wateh wado:kwi nonnwa ‘ndasqua entai
ehnau sherskwa trivota nonnwa ‘ndi yaun rashata
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia

Ayoki onki hm-ashe eran yayeh raunnaun
yauntaun kanntatya hm-deh ‘ndyaun sehnsatoa ronnyaun
Waria hnawakweh tond Yosehf sataunn haronnyaun
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia

Asheh kaunnta horraskwa deh ha tirri gwames
Tishyaun ayau ha’ndeh ta aun hwa ashya a ha trreh
aundata:kwa Tishyaun yayaun yaun n-dehta
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia

(instrumental)

Dau yishyeh sta atyaun errdautau ‘ndi Yisus
avwa tateh dn-deh Tishyaun stanshi teya wennyau
aha yaunna torrehntehn yataun katsyaun skehnn
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia

Eyeh kwata tehnaunnte aheh kwashyehn ayehn
kiyeh kwanaun aukwayaun dehtsaun we ‘ndeh adeh
tarrya diskwann aunkwe yishyehr eya ke naun sta
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia

TRANSLATION — “Jesus, He is Born”

Have courage, you who are human beings: Jesus, he is born
The okie spirit who enslaved us has fled
Don’t listen to him for he corrupts the spirits of our thoughts
Jesus, he is born

The okie spirits who live in the sky are coming with a message
They’re coming to say, “Rejoice!
Mary has given birth. Rejoice!”
Jesus, he is born

Three men of great authority have left for the place of his birth
Tiscient, the star appearing over the horizon leads them there
That star will walk first on the bath to guide them
Jesus, he is born

The star stopped not far from where Jesus was born
Having found the place it said,
“Come this way”
Jesus, he is born

As they entered and saw Jesus they praised his name
They oiled his scalp many times, anointing his head
with the oil of the sunflower
Jesus, he is born

They say, “Let us place his name in a position of honour
Let us act reverently towards him for he comes to show us mercy
It is the will of the spirits that you love us, Jesus,
and we wish that we may be adopted into your family
Jesus, he is born


#6

Ukraine

Дивная новина / Wonderous Tidings

Upper Choir of the Holy Dormition Pochaev Lavra

A Ukrainian Carol.

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#5

Denmark

Lad det klinge sødt i sky / Let the voice of praise resound

Upper Choir of the Holy Dormition Pochaev Lavra

A Christmas carol that originates in the Latin Resonet in Laudibus . The Danish text is a translation of NFS Grundtvig .

The Latin origins date back to the 1300s . The text was translated several times immediately after the Reformation , and a translation of Arvid Pedersen was recorded in the Malmö Book of 1529

Resonet_in_laudibus
The printing of Resonet in laudibus in the 1582 Swedish songbook Piae Cantiones. -By Henricus Theodoricus Nylandensis – Combined from [1] and [2], two pages from Piae cantiones ecclesiasticae et scholasticae veterum episcoporum in incluto Regno Sueciae passim usurpate, nu per studio cuiusdam Reverendis:se Ecclesia Dei et Schola Aboensi in Finlandia optime meriti accurate à mendis correctae et nunc typis commissae opera Henri Theodorici Nylandesis. Digitalized by Finnish National Library., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12164710
Latin lyrics
Resonet in laudibus,
Cum iucundis plausibus,
Sion cum fidelibus,
Apparuit, apparuit,
Quem genuit Maria.Apparuit, apparuit,
Quem genuit Maria.

Sunt impleta quae praedixit Gabriel.
Eya, Eya, Virgo Deum genuit,
Quem diuina voluit clementia.
Hodie apparuit, apparuit in Israel,
Ex Maria Virgine est natus Rex.

Pueri concinite,
Nato Regi psallite,
Voce pia dicite:
Apparuit quem genuit Maria.

Sion lauda Dominum,
Saluatorem hominu,
Purgatorem criminu.
Apparuit quem genuit Maria.

Sunt impleta quae praedixit Gabriel.
Eya, Eya,Virgo Deum genuit,
Quem diuina voluit clementia.
Hodie apparuit, apparuit in Israel,
Ex Maria Virgine est natus Rex.

English translation
Let praises resound,
With joyous acclaim,
Sion and their faithful.
He appeared, He appeared,
Who was born of Mary.He appeared, He appeared,
Who was born of Mary.

It has been fulfilled what Gabriel foretold.
Eia, Eia, a Virgin bore God,
Which the divine mercy willed.
Today He has appeared in Israel:
From the Virgin Mary is born a King.

Sing together to the Child,
The newborn King let us praise,
With pious voices, say:
He appeared who was born of Mary.

Sion praise the Lord,
The Savior of mankind,
He who purges us of sin:
He appeared who was born of Mary.

It has been fulfilled what Gabriel foretold.
Eia, a Virgin bore God,
Which the divine mercy willed.
Today He has appeared in Israel:
From the Virgin Mary is born a King.


#4

England

This Endris Night

Heather Dale

“This Endris Night” (also “Thys Endris Night”, “Thys Ender Night” or “The Virgin and Child”) is a 15th-century English Christmas carol. It has also appeared under various other spellings. Two versions from the 15th-century survive, one republished in Thomas Wright, Songs and Carols Now First Printed, From a Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century (London: The Percy Society, 1847), and the other in the possession of the Advocates’ Library in Edinburgh, Scotland, a legal deposit belonging to the Faculty of Advocates, a role which was assumed by the National Library of Scotland from 1925 onwards. All non-legal collections were given to the National Library.

It has been praised for the unusual delicacy and lyrical flourish for a poem of the period. The opening lyrics, in the Wright edition, are:

Thys endris nyȝth
I saw a syȝth,
A stare as bryȝt as day;
And ever among
A mayden song
Lullay, by by, lullay.

 

LYRICS:

This endris night I saw a sight
A star bright as day;
And ever amoung, a maiden sung:
“Lullay, by by lullay”

This lovely lady sat and sung
And to her child did say:
“My son, my brother, father dear
Why liest thou thus in hay?”

The child then spake in his talking
And to his mother said
“Yea, I am known as Heaven’s king
In crib though I be laid

“For angels bright down to me alight:
Thou knowest ’tis [true to say];
And for that sight thou may’st delight
And sing ‘By by lullay’.”

“Yet, sweet son, since thou art a king
Why are thou laid in stall?
Why dost not order thy bedding
In some great kingès hall?

“Methinks ’tis right that king or knight
Should lie in good array;
And them amoung it be not wrong
To sing ‘By by lullay’.”

“Mary Mother, I am child
Though I be laid in stall;
For lords and dukes shall worship me
And so shall kinges all

“So in they arm thou hold me warm
And keep me night and day;
And if I weep and may no sleep
Then sing ‘By by lullay’.”

 


#3

Greece

Πόψι Χριστός γεννήθηκε  / Tonight Christ was born

Argy Kokoris

“Popsi Christos gennithike” (Tonight Christ was born) – Argy Kokoris Greek traditional christmas song from the region of Eastern Thrace

Adaptation/Oud/Singing – Argy Kokoris


#2

Hungary

Kis karácsony, nagy karácsony / Little Christmas, Big Christmas

Vörösmarty Kórus

Hungarian Christmas song from 1922.

LYRICS:

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

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

Jaj, de szép a karácsonyfa
Ragyog rajta a sok gyertya.
Itt egy szép gömb, 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,
Talpam alatt 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!

 Translated by Mzoli17:

Little Christmas – Big Christmas
The snow soft like the dream.
Now everybody loves another way
You also grab both of my hands.
Little Christmas – Big Christmas
He arrived at night by snowy sledge.
His grey is head, tired hand
Don’t be forgetting.
Little Christmas – Big Christmas
Be peace, I only wish it.
People don’t kill
Educate the children.
Little Christmas, Big Christmas
The night arrived at snowy sledge.
The snow soft like the dream.
Little Christmas, Big Christmas

#1

Scotland

Taladh Chriosda / Christ Child Lullaby

Texas Early Music Project

Tàladh Chrìosda (Christ’s lullaby) is the popular name for the Scottish Gaelic Christmas carol Tàladh ar Slànaigheir (the Lullaby of our Saviour). It is traditionally sung at Midnight Mass in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. The 29 verses of the hymn date from the 19th century and are intended to represent a lullaby for the Christ Child by the Blessed Virgin.

The song was popularised among English speakers in the early 20th century by Marjory Kennedy-Fraser under the title The Christ-Child’s Lullaby.

The words are believed to have been written by Fr. Ranald Rankin, a Roman Catholic priest from Fort William. The hymn was originally titled Tàladh ar Slànuighear (the Lullaby of our Saviour) and sung to a tune called Cumha Mhic Àrois (the Lament for Mac Àrois).

TALADH AR SLANUIGHIR
Air fonn – Cumha Mhic Arois
Aleluiah, Aleluiah, Aleluiah, Aleluiah.
Mo ghaol, mo ghradh, a’s m’ fheudail thu,
M’ ion’ntas ur a’s n’ eibhneas thu,
Mo mhacan aluinn ceutach thu,
Cha ‘n fhiu mi fein bhi ‘d dhail.
Aleluiah, &c.
Ge ‘mòr an t-aobhar cliu dhomh e,
‘S mòr an t-aobhar curaim e,
‘S rnòr an t-aobhar umhlachd e,
Righ nan dùl ‘bhi ‘m laimh.
Ge d’ is leanamh diblidh thu,
Cinnteach ‘s Righ nan Righrean thu,
‘S tu ‘n t-oighre dligheach, firinneach
Air Rioghachd Dhé nan gràs.
Ge d’ is Righ na glorach thu
Dhiult iad an tigh-osda dhuit,
Ach chualas ainglean solasach
‘Toirt gloir do’n Tì is àird.
Bu mhòr solas agus ioghnadh
Buachaillean bochda nan caorach,
‘Nuair chual iad na h-ainglean a’ glaodhaich,
“Thainig Slanui’ear thun an t-saoghail.”
B’ e sin an ceol, ‘s an naigheachd aghmhor
‘Sheinn na h-ainglean anns na h-ardaibh,
Ag innseadh gu’n d’ rugadh Slanui’ear
Am Betlehem, am baile Dhaibhidh.

p240

B’ e sin sgeula binn nam beannachd,
Mu’n aoidh a rinn tearnadh gu talamh,
Cha’n ioghnadh mi ‘bhi muirneach, geanail.
Is gile na ghrian mo leanamh.
Dh’ fhoillsich reulta dha na righrean,
Lean iad i mar iuil gu dileas,
Fhuair iad ‘n am achlais fhein thu,
Is rinn iad umhlachd dhuit gu lar.
Thairg iad or dhuit, mirr a’s tuis,
Thug iad aoradh dhuit a’s cliu,
B’ e turas an aigh do ‘n triuir,
‘Thainig a shealltuinn mo ruin.
‘O na dh’ innis aingeal Dé dhuinn
Gu’n robh ‘n fhoill an cridhe Heroid,
Dh’ fhalbh sinne leat do’n Eiphit
G’ a sheachnadh mu’n deanta beud ort.
O! ‘Heroid a chridhe chruaidh,
Cha choisinn t’imleachd [recte: t’innleachd] dhuit buaidh,
‘S lionar mathair dh’fhag thu truagh,
‘S tu dian an toir air bàs mo luaidh.
‘S fhada, fhada, bho ludea,
Tearuinte bho d’ chlaidheamh geur e,
‘Measg nam mac cha d’fhuair thu fein e,
‘S fallain, slan thu, ‘s fath dhomh eibhneas.
Dh’ aindeoin do mhi-rinn [recte: mì-rùn] a ‘s t’fharmaid,
Bidh mo mhac-sa cliuiteach, ainmeil,
Cha chuir e uigh an òr n’an airgiod,
A rioghachd cha rioghachd thalmhaidh.
Gur galach, brònach, tùrsach iad
An drast ann an Ierusalem,
A’ caoidh nam macan ùra sin,
‘S b’ e ‘n diubhail ‘n cur gu bas.
Tha Rachel an diugh fo bhròn,
A’ caoidh a paisdean aluinn, òg,
‘S frasach air a gruaidh na deoir
Bho nach ‘eil iad aice beo.

p241

Tha mi ‘g altrum Righ na mòrachd,
‘S mise mathair Dhe na gloire –
Nach buidhe, nach sona dhomhsa,
Tha mo chridhe làn do sholas.
Thainig, thainig am Messiah,
Fhuair na faidhean uile ‘n guidhe,
‘S fhada bho ‘n b’ aill leo thu thighinn,
‘S aluinn thu air mo ruighe.
A ghnothach gu talamh cha b’ fhaoin e,
Cheannach sabhaladh chloinn daoine,
‘S e ‘m Fear-reite ‘s am Fear-saoraidh,
Is e ‘n Slanui’ear gradhach caomh e.
Ciamar a dh’ eirich dhomhsa
‘Measg an t-sluaigh a bhi cho sonruicht’?
‘S e toil a’s cumhachd na gloire
Mac bhi agam ge d’ is oigh mi.
‘S mise fhuair an ulaidh phrìseil,
Uiseil, uasal, luachmhor, fhinealt,
‘N diugh cha dual dhomh bhi fo mhighean,
‘S coltach ri bruadar an fhirinn.
Cha tuig ainglean naomh no daoine
Gu la deireannach an t-saoghail
Meud do throcair a’s do ghaoil-sa,
Tighinn a ghabhail coluinn daonnta.
Bheir mi moladh, bheir mi aoradh,
Bheir mi cliu dhuit, bheir mi gaol dhuit,
Tha thu agam air mo ghairdean,
‘S mi tha sona thar chloinn daoine.
Mo ghaol an t-suil a sheallas tlà,
Mo ghaol an cridh ‘tha liont ‘le gràdh,
Ged is leanamh thu gun chàil
‘S lionmhor buaidh tha ort a’ fàs.
M’ ulaidh, m’ aighear, a’s mo luaidh thu,
Rùn, a’s gaol, a’s gràdh an t-sluaigh thu;
‘S tus’ an Tì a bheir dhoibh fuasgladh
Bho chuibhreach an namhaid uaibhrich.

p242

‘S tu Righ nan righ, ‘s tu naomh nan naomh,
Dia am Mac thu ‘s siorruidh t’aois;
‘S tu mo Dhia ‘s mo leanamh gaoil,
‘S tu àrd cheann-feadhna ‘chinne-daonn’.
‘S tusa grian gheal an dòchais,
Chuireas dorchadas air fògairt ;
Bheir thu clann-daoin’ bho staid bhrònaich
Gu naomhachd, soilleireachd, a’s eòlas.
Thigeadh na sloigh chur ort failte –
Dheanadh umhlachd dhuit mar Shlanui’ear,
Bidh solas mòr am measg siol Adhamh –
Thainig am Fear-saoraidh, thainig!
Thig a pheacaich, na biodh sgàth ort,
Gheibh thu na dh’ iarras tu ‘ghrasan;
Ge d’ bhiodh do chiontan dearg mar sgàrlaid
Bidh t’anam geal mar shneachd nan àrd-bheann.
Hosanah do Mhac Dhaibhidh,
Mo Righ, mo Thighearna, ‘s mo Shlanui’ear,
‘S mòr mo sholas bhi ga d’ thaladh,
‘S beannaichte am measg nam mnai mi.

Literal English translation

p 239

my love, my love and my treasure are You
my treasure and my joy are You
my lovely, becoming son are You
I’m not worthy of being near You
though it’s a reason for praise to me
it’s a great reason for care
it’s a great reason for homage
the King of the Elements being in my arms
though You’re a feeble baby
for sure, the King of Kings are You
You’re the rightful, true heir
of the Kingdom of God of the graces
though the King of Glory are You
they refused the inn to You
but joyful angels were heard
giving glory to the Highest One
great was the joy and wonder
of the poor shepherds of the sheep
when they heard the angels crying out
“a Saviour has come to the world”
that was the music and the joyous news
that the angels sang in the heights
telling that a Saviour was born
in Bethlehem, in the town of David

p 240

that was the sweet tale of the blessings
about the guest that did descend from heaven
it’s no surprise that I’m light and cheerful
fairer/whiter than the sun is my baby
a star manifested for the kings
they followed her like a guide faithfully
they found You in my clasp
and they made obeisance to You [down] to the floor
they offered gold to You, myrrh and incense
they gave adoration to You and praise
that was the journey of joy for the three men
who came to see my dearest
since the angel of God told us
that deceit was in the heart of Herod
we left with You for Egypt
evading him before harm was done to You
O Herod, o hard heart / O Herod of the hard heart
your contrivance will not gain you victory
many the mothers that you left wretched
when you were vehement in pursuit of the death of my dear one
far, far from Judea
safe from your sharp sword is He
among the sons you didn’t find Him
You are healthy, whole, and a cause of rejoicing to me
despite your ill-will and your envy
my Son will be renowned, famous
He won’t show interest in gold or in silver
His Kingdom tis not an earthly kingdom
wailing, sorrowful, weary are they
now in Jerusalem
lamenting those new sons
their putting to death was a tragedy indeed
Rachel today is sorrowful
lamenting her lovely young child
streaming on her cheek are the tears
since she doesn’t have them alive

p 241

I’m rearing the King of Majesty
I’m the mother of the God of Glory
how fortunate, how happy for me
my heart is full of joy
the Messiah has come, has come
all the prophets have got their wish
they’ve long desired for You to come
You’re lovely on my forearm
His business on earth, it isn’t futile
to buy the salvation of the children of men
He’s the Reconciler and the Redeemer
He is the loving gentle Saviour
how has it happened that I
among the people am so special
it’s the will and power of Glory
to have a son though I be a virgin
tis I who have found the priceless treasure
worthy, noble, valuable and fine
today I’m not disposed to be discontent
tis like a dream the truth
neither holy angels nor men will understand
till the last day of the world
the extent of Your mercy and Your love
coming to take a human body
I give you praise, I give you adoration
I give you praise, I give you love
I have you in my arms
tis I who am happy over the children of men
my love the eye that looks mild
my love the heart that is filled with love
though You be a baby without a strong constitution
many are the virtues which on You grow
my treasure, my joy and my dearest are You
my darling and love and love of the people are You
You’re the One who brings them liberation
from the bond of the haughty Enemy

p 242

You’re the King of Kings, You’re the Holy One of the Holy Ones
God the Son are You, eternal is Your age
You’re my God and my beloved baby
You’re the high chief of the children of men
You’re the fair/white sun of hope
who banishes darkness
You bring the children of men from a sorry state
to holiness, illumination and knowledge
the peoples would come to welcome You
they would pay homage to You as Saviour
there will be great joy among the seed of Adam
the Redeemer has come, has come
come, O sinner, do not fear
you’ll get what you want of graces
though your faults be red like scarlet
your soul will be white like the snow of the high hills
hosanna to the Son of David
my King, my Lord and my Saviour
great is my joy to be lulling You
blessed among the women am I
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