Silent Night – The True Story Behind This Well-Loved Christmas Carol

| December 10, 2013 | 6 Comments


Beautiful storybooks have been written about this true story. One our family enjoys is A Carol for Christmas written by Ann Tompert and illustrated by Laura Kelly. Some mice tell how they were hungry and chewed the leather organ straps so that it could not be played.

On December 24, 1818, Father Joseph Mohr, the assistant parish priest at the St. Nikolaus Catholic Church in Oberndorf, Austria, decided to write the text of a new hymn for the Christmas eve service that night. The organ was not working and could not be repaired in time for the service so the organist, Franz Gruber, wrote the music for guitar. Both text and music were written on the day it was performed for the first time! Father Mohr and Franz Gruber sang Silent Night at the service that evening with the choir joining in on the last two lines. The carol was originally written in German and is known as Stille Nacht, which means “quiet night.” Father Mohr wrote six verses, but most people are only familiar with three verses. This beautiful carol is a favourite of many people around the world.

Silent Night

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.

Photo credit: / Public Domain Mark 1.0

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Category: Living, Reviews

About the Author ()

Tanya is a Licensed Kindermusik Educator. She studied music at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She became a licensed Kindermusik educator in 2003. Tanya enjoys teaching piano and voice in her home studio in Orleans as well as Kindermusik at the South Fallingbrook Community Centre. Tanya has participated in award winning choirs which have been featured on CBC radio. She sang at the Canadian Premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Requiem" in the choir under the direction of Dr. Elmer Iseler at Roy Thompson Hall as well as the investiture of Madame Jeanne Sauvé, 23rd Governor General of Canada. She established Kindermusik with Tanya when she recognized the need for a studio that offers high-quality musical experiences for children to enjoy with their families.

Comments (6)

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  1. Lynn m says:

    Thank you,wonderful history!

  2. Dreena says:

    Interesting! It is indeed a beautiful Christmas carol.

  3. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    A interesting history lesson, I didn’t know that that was how the carol originated. I’ve often sung this in German as I lived there for many many years.

  4. kathy downey says:

    This is a beautiful Christmas carol,interesting history

  5. kathy downey says:

    I shared on FB,the season is almost upon us again

  6. Wanda Tracey says:

    That is a beautiful story and a wonderful inspiring way for the song to be created.I really enjoyed reading this.

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