Christmas songs around the world
In Spain Christmas songs are also known as "villancicos". If you turn on the television during December you will witness a chorus singing "Los peces en el río" or "Campana sobre campana", classic songs for decades. Most of them have a very close relationship with Catholicism, either at the birth of Jesus or the next months. We have examples of very varied Spanish Christmas carols, but the most common ones are generally "Ay el Chiquirritín", which remains immediately in our head because of its rhymes, "Noche de paz" which speaks of the passage from 24 to 25 December (internationally, known as "Silent Night", composed by Franz Xaver Gruber in 1818 and declared intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2011, "La Marimorena" talks about the Virgin Mary and "the Arre burro arre " the way of the family of Jesus in Bethlehem. Without a doubt, one of the best-known Spanish Christmas carols is "Los peces en el río".
In France, there are two Christmas carols that stand out above others: “Il est né le Divin Enfant” and “Douce Nuit - Sainte Nuit”. The first one talks about the birth of a divine child and first appeared in 1874. The second, as we mentioned earlier, the 'Silent Night' translated into French. In addition, French speakers have a very famous singer for Christmas songs, Celine Dion. She has created some versions of the most classic Christmas carols, such as “Petit Santa Claus”' which tells the story of a child asking Santa Claus not to forget his gifts.
Germany is not the most religious country in Europe and that is why many Christmas songs in German are known also as "winter songs". During this time of the year, families meet and celebrate the end of the year together. The most typical Christmas songs are "Schneeflöckchen, Weißröckchen", which deals with falling snowflakes and their beauty. "In der Weihnachtsbäckerei", which talks about the fabulous meals that take place on these dates; 'O Tannenbaum', the German version of 'Oh Christmas Tree'.
In this southern European country there are also two Christmas songs that overshadow the rest. Most families usually sing them during the last week of December, all while sitting around a table full of food. On the one hand, there is a religious carol called “Tu scendi dalle stelle” that young children usually learn at school, and it is much related to the Catholic tradition of the country. The second most typical Christmas song, although somewhat more modern, is “A natale puoi”, a hymn to the joy of parties and how you can live with yourself doing things for others.
In Holland, the tradition of Christmas carols is not very popular. They generally translate and adapt international versions, so they do not have any local songs. This happens with "Stille Nacht" which is the local version of "Holy Night"; with "Oh dennenboom" which is their version of "Oh Christmas tree" or with "Hoor, from eng'len zingen of eer" as a version of "Hat! The Herald Angels Sing." However, there is a version that people typically sing at church, it expresses that on a winter's night, heaven opens on Earth and there is peace in all parts of the world because Jesus was born. This Christmas song is called "Midden in Winternacht".
We move to another continent, America, to Brazil to be more specific. A very typical Brazilian song is "Então é Natal". In the video below, we see how Simone sings it. This song wishes everyone happy holidays and a prosperous new year. There are more common songs like "Noite Feliz" or "Bate or Sino", but as in other countries, these are translations of known international Christmas songs.
Although tradition varies by country, there is a well-known author in most parts of Latin America. His name is Pastor López, and when December comes, you can hear him on radio and TV. The most famous Christmas song in Latin America is “Faltan cinco pa las doce”, from Nestor Zavarce's. It talks about the year's end and the time when families gathers for a dinner to welcome the New Year. The rhythm is totally different from what we can hear in Europe. Indeed, Christmas songs tend to be more melodious. In Colombia, for example, "Adonay" by Rodolfo con los hispanos, a song about the wedding of the protagonist or a cumbia song like "Yo no olvido el año viejo", all this to be able to gain the calories of the hearty meals during this period of the year.
Mariah Carey is a classic of the Christmas season in the United States. She has several Christmas songs and sometimes performs concerts with this repertoire, as her songs are internationally recognized. One of them, for which you have the video below “All I Want for Christmas Is You” dates from 1994 and was one of the best-sellers in Australia, Japan, Norway or the United Kingdom. This song has generated more than 50 million US dollars in profits over the years.
In addition, another classic of American folklore is "White Christmas", played by Bing Crosby. It is considered the most sold Christmas song in the world with more than 50 million copies sold. His song's composer was Irving Berlin.