Advent and Christmas Eve

13 Nov

https://auntyuta.com/2014/12/03/christmas-songs-and-some-german-christmas-customs/

Last year I published this blog with some texts of Christmas songs that we used to sing on the four Sundays before Christmas. We have 2015 now and this year we have the first Sunday of advent on the 29th of November, which is only a couple of weeks away. Here now is what I published last year for advent:

The Christmas songs, that I remember from my childhood, have a special meaning for me. Some songs were very joyful, others more reflective, that is ‘besinnlich’. Besinnlich meant we became deeply and seriously thoughtful while singing these songs . This kind of singing appealed to me. Advent was the only time of the year when my family would sing some songs together. And it went on for four Sunday afternoons in a row. After the fourth Sunday of Advent some serious preparations for Christmas Eve started. We children were not included in these preparations. As children we therefore became highly impatient while we were waiting for Christmas Eve – “Heiligabend” .

“Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,” and “O du fröhliche” were very popular songs during my childhood. (I was born in 1934.)

German

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Hirten erst kundgemacht
Durch der Engel Halleluja,
Tönt es laut von fern und nah:
Christ, der Retter ist da!
Christ, der Retter ist da!

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

Words: Joseph Mohr, 1816
Music: Franz Xaver Gruber, 1818

English

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

http://german.about.com/od/christmas/a/StilleNacht.htm

O du fröhliche
This very popular German Christmas carol has Italian origins. In 1788 the German philosopher, theologian, and poet Johann Gottfried von Herder(1744-1803) brought the melody to Germany after a trip to Italy. Originally a Sicilian fisherman’s song, the melody was used for the Latin hymn “O Sanctissima.” Around 1816 Johannes Daniel Falk (1768-1826) wrote the German lyrics for what soon became one of the most popular GermanWeihnachtslieder. The English version is known as “O How Joyfully.”


http://german.about.com/library/blmus_dufroehlich.htm

RIMG0025

O du fröhliche
O You Merry (Christmastide)

MELODIE: Sizilianisches Fischerlied – Johann Gottfried von Herder (1788)
TEXT: Johannes Daniel Falk (1816)

DEUTSCH
Johannes Daniel Falk, 1816O du fröhliche, o du selige,
Gnadenbringende Weihnachtszeit!
Welt ging verloren,
Christ ist geboren,
Freue, freue dich, o Christenheit!O du fröhliche, o du selige,
Gnadenbringende Weihnachtszeit!
Christ ist erschienen,
Uns zu versöhnen,
Freue, freue dich, o Christenheit!

O du fröhliche, o du selige,
Gnadenbringende Weihnachtszeit!
Himmlische Heere
Jauchzen dir Ehre,
Freue, freue dich, o Christenheit!

ENGLISH (lit. prose)
See poetic version belowO you merry, o you blessed,
Merciful Christmastide!
The world was lost,
Christ was born,
Rejoice, rejoice o Christendom!O you merry, o you blessed,
Merciful Christmastide!
Christ appeared,
To reconcile us,
Rejoice, rejoice o Christendom!

O you merry, o you blessed,
Merciful Christmastide!
Heavenly hosts,
Exult your honor,
Rejoice, rejoice o Christendom!

LISTEN > Melody for “O du fröhliche” (midi version)


English poetic version, author unknown
O How Joyfully (O du fröhliche)

O how joyfully, o how blessedly,
Comes the glory of Christmastime!
To a world so lost in sin,
Christ the Savior, enters in:
Praise Him, praise Him Christians, evermore!

O how joyfully, o how blessedly,
Comes the glory of Christmastime!
Jesus, born in lowly stall,
With His grace redeems us all:
Praise Him, praise Him Christians, evermore!

O how joyfully, o how blessedly,
Comes the glory of Christmastime!
Hosts of angels from on high,
Sing, rejoicing, in the sky:
Praise Him, praise Him Christians, evermore!

One Christmas Eve, the one in 1946, is stuck in my memory as a very bad Christmas Eve. It was the Christmas Eve when my father was not allowed to see us children. I wrote about it the way I remember it with some imaginary conversations added to it:

https://auntyuta.com/2012/02/26/christmas-eve-1946/

5 Responses to “Advent and Christmas Eve”

  1. catterel November 13, 2015 at 10:36 pm #

    Thank you, Uta. My English family and friends, accustomed to a “Merry” Christmas, were always a bit puzzled when they received wishes for “besinnliche Festtage” – yet I think it is a beautiful greeting, and much more apt than “merry”. I hadn’t seen the poetic version of “O du fröhliche” before – very nice.

  2. auntyuta November 13, 2015 at 10:54 pm #

    To my story of Christmas Eve 1946 I added this comment when I published it in 2012:

    ” . . . In this terrible situation it was a blessing that Aunty Elsa (Tante Ilse) and Uncle Peter acted differently. It taught me a lot about how important a mediator can be in people’s lives.”

    I think this experience taught me that Christmas celebrations can be less joyful for some people.

  3. giselzitrone November 13, 2015 at 11:53 pm #


    Einen schönen Freitag liebe Ute schöne Weihnachtslieder sind das als Kind haben wir die immer gesungen ist lange her.Ich wünsche dir ein gutes und schönes Wochenende eine große Umarmung Gislinde

    • auntyuta November 14, 2015 at 8:05 am #

      Ich kann mich noch an viele Weihnachtslieder erinnern, liebe Gislinde. Zum Beispiel:
      Horch was kommt von draussen rein
      Süsser die Glocken nie klingen
      Kling Göckchen, klingelingeling
      Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her
      Morgen kommt der Weihnachtsmann
      O Tannenbaum
      Ich wünsche dir auch ein recht schönes Wochenende, liebe Gislinde! 🙂

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