On This Day in History: July 01, 

2019 – May God Bless and Save the United States of America – Our Constitutional Republic !

Silent Night, Holy Night

(Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht)

English Rendition by Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square
German (Deutsche) Rendition of traditional English Version
Original in German (Deutsche) from Oberndorf, Austria

Silent Night was written over two hundred years ago in 1816 by Father Joseph Mohr. It is the most beloved of all Christmas carols and has been translated into more than one hundred eighty languages. Originally it was written as a poem after a walk home from his grandfather’s home to the church. The poem contained six stanzas when first written. Most English versions of “Silent Night!” include just three verses. These correspond to a translation from the original text of verses 1, 6 and 2, in that order.

Silent Night, Holy Night as originally written can be heard by clicking on the link above. It is performed by two singers and guitar in Oberndorf, Austria in the original village where it was sung. Many people in Oberndorf are bothered by the fact that “Silent Night” is played too often, too soon before Christmas and in too many places at the wrong time. Consequently, the board of directors of the Silent Night Society sent out notices for 1987, asking that the beloved melody be restricted to Christmas Eve according to Bavarian custom.

In reality, this carol’s creation was an accident. According to ledged, mice had chewed a hole in the bellows of the organ rendering it useless for Christmas Eve Mass. Joseph Mohr asked the organist, Franz Gruber, if he could write music for his poem for the Mass to be played on a guitar. Franz Gruber wrote a simple tune, setting the words for a tenor, a bass and two guitars. That very evening, at the midnight service, “Silent Night” was heard for the first time.

The song soon made its way beyond the town of Oberndorf, but anonymously, without mention of composer or poet. Until the 1850’s, neither Gruber nor Mohr, living in their remote village, knew that their song was rapidly becoming the most beloved piece of Christmas music ever written, nor did the world know of Gruber and Mohr.

During World War I, a miraculous thing is reported to happened: in the week leading up to Christmas, British, French and German soldiers laid down their arms, crossed into each other’s trenches, played games and exchanged gifts. They also sang songs — one of which was reportedly Silent Night, easily recognized regardless of the language in which it was being sung.

The English Version

  1. 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
  2. Silent night, holy night!
    Shepherds quake at the sight
    Glories stream from heaven afar
    Heavenly hosts sing ‘Alleluia!
    Christ the Savior is born
    Christ the Savior is born
  3. 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

The Original German Text

  1. Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
    Wo sich heut alle Macht
    Väterlicher Liebe ergoß
    Und als Bruder huldvoll umschloß
    Jesus die Völker der Welt,
    Jesus die Völker der Welt.
  2. Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
    Lange schon uns bedacht,
    Als der Herr vom Grimme befreit,
    In der Väter urgrauer Zeit
    Aller Welt Schonung verhieß,
    Aller Welt Schonung verhieß.
  3. Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
    Hirten erst kundgemacht
    Durch der Engel Alleluja,
    Tönt es laut bei Ferne und Nah:
    Jesus der Retter ist da!
    Jesus der Retter ist da!
  4. Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
    Wo sich heut alle Macht
    Väterlicher Liebe ergoß
    Und als Bruder huldvoll umschloß
    Jesus die Völker der Welt,
    Jesus die Völker der Welt
  5. Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
    Lange schon uns bedacht,
    Als der Herr vom Grimme befreit,
    In der Väter urgrauer Zeit
    Aller Welt Schonung verhieß,
    Aller Welt Schonung verhieß.
  6. Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
    Hirten erst kundgemacht
    Durch der Engel Alleluja,
    Tönt es laut bei Ferne und Nah:
    Jesus der Retter ist da!
    Jesus der Retter ist da!