Christmas Carols From Around The World

Wikipedia's List
European Carols Around the World

This is a sampling of traditional Christmas, Nativity, and Advent songs from around the world. Asterisks link to a YouTube video of that song, usually from that country. The YouTube playlist (it plays for 10 1/2 hours) and the links below on this page have been updated (Dec. 2018).

This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of what all people groups around the world are singing in December. This is just a small taste of what different countries with a long Christian tradition have created and made part of their own musical nativity celebration. Not every culture has a traditional commemoration for the birth of Jesus, though they may have their own December holidays - Israel, for example, has Hanukkah and Africa has Kwanzaa. Christmas, except as an interesting American tradition, is largely unknown in India and China, and many of their "Christmas" songs are translations of secular American holiday songs. Some cultures, such as Hawai'i, have taken English/American songs and given them their own unique cultural flavor. Also, almost every culture has their own translations of songs that we as English speakers are familiar with - specifically, translations of Silent Night and Jingle Bells seem to be popular in every language. Compiling a collection of any of those would be its own worthwhile undertaking, but that is outside the scope of this particular project. If you are interested in pursuing other cultures' December celebrations, the internet is a great place to start. And please share your findings with the AO community via our forum or Facebook group!

There are 26 groupings here. By combining Greece, Canada and Switzerland (which have fewer songs represented), you could use this as an Advent calendar, focusing on one group of songs per day of December.

Jesous Ahatonhia (Huron Carol) * * *
Les Anges dans nos campagnes (Angels We Have Heard on High) *

Catalonia (northeastern Spain and adjoining parts of France) Christmas carols are called Nadala
Fum, Fum, Fum (Smoke, Smoke, Smoke?) *
El Cant dels Ocells (Song of the Birds) * *
El Noi de la Mare (The Child of the Mother) * Carollers *
Les Dotze Van Tocant (Midnight is Striking) *
La Pastora Caterina (Caterina, the Shepherd) * *

Croatia Christmas carols are called Božićna pjesma
Svim na Zemlji mir veselje (All on Earth, Peace, Joy) *
Oj, Pastiri, čudo Novo (Oy, Shepherds, a New Miracle) *
Narodi Nam Se Kralj Nebeski (King of Heavens Born Unto Us) * *
Djetešce nam se rodilo (A Child Was Born Unto Us) *
U to vrijeme godišta (At That Time of the Year) *

Czechoslovakia Christmas carols are called Vánoční koleda
Narodil se Kristus Pán (Jesus Christ Was Born) *
Nesem Vám Noviny (We Bring You Good News, Hark!) *
Půjdem Spolu do Betléma (We Will Go Together to Bethlehem) *
Jak si Krásné Neviňátko (How Beautiful You Are, Baby) *
Den Přeslavný Jest k Nám Přišel (The Glorious Day Has Arrived) * *

The few Christians in Egypt (and probably Arabia as well) have been Coptics associated with the Greek Coptic Orthodox or Byzantine Church, which commemorates Theophany (the incarnation) on January 7 and uses the Liturgy of St. Gregory. Their music tends towards chant and is in Arabic. I was unable to find any samples. One nativity hymn that came up was Ouslon afshai: "A star shone in the East, a King was born in Bethlehem, and Wise Men offered Him gifts, and knelt and adored Him." This is Theophany music from a Greek Coptic church: *

England Christmas carols are called Christmas carols
The First Noel * Carollers *
Good King Wenceslas (A quintessential British song about a Bohemian king. . .) *
The Holly and the Ivy *
Sussex Carol *
God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen * *

Finland Christmas carols are called Joululaulu
Enkeli Taivaan Lausui Näin (An Angel of the Lord) *
Varpunen Jouluaamuna (Sparrow on Christmas Morning) * *
Sylvian Joululaulu (Sylvia's Christmas Song) * * *
Hiljaa, Hiljaa Joulun Kellot Kajahtaa (Quietly, quietly the Christmas bells ring out) * *

France Christmas carols are called Noël
Il Est Né, le Divin Enfant (He is Born, the Heavenly Child) * *
Un Flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle (Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella) *
Entre le Boeuf et l'âne Gris (Between the Ox and the Grey Donkey) *
Minuit, Chretiens (O Holy Night) *
Venez divin Messie (O Come, Divine Messiah) * *
Noël nouvelet ["Chantons Noël pour le Roi nouvelet"] * *

Galicia Christmas carols are called Música de Nadal (northwest Spain)
Nadal De Luíntra (Luintra Carol) * *
Pois Que Dos Reys Nostro Sennor (Since Our Lord Chose to Descend from the Lineage of Kings; chant-like) *
Da Ulla a meu cabo veño (online translator says "From Ulla to me I come") * *
Null'ome per ren non deve *
En Belén hai moita festa (There is a lot of celebration in Bethlehem; instrumental) * *

Germany/Austria Christmas carols are called Weihnachtslieder
Es Ist Ein Ros' Entsprungen (A Rose Has Sprung Up) *
Still, Still, Still (Quiet, Quiet, Quiet) *
Alle Jahre Wieder (Every Year Again) *
Süßer die Glocken Nie Klingen (Sweet the Bells Never Sound) * *
Stille Nachte (Silent Night) *
Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her (From Heaven Above to Earth I Come; by Martin Luther) * *
Kling, Glöckchen Klingelingeling (Ring, Little Bell) * *
Heiligste Nacht (Holy Night) * *

Greece Christmas carols are called Kalanta (Greece apparently only has one Christmas Carol)
Καλήν εσπέραν άρχοντες (Tonight Christ was Born) * *
Kontakion (Hymn) of the Nativity *

Holland/Netherlands Christmas carols are called Kerstlied (or Kerstmuziek)
Nu Syt Wellekome (Jesus, You Are Welcome) *
Ere Zij God in Den Hoge (Glory to God in the Highest) * (Flashmob *)
Hoor de Wind Waait Door de Bomen (a Saint Nicholas song) *
O Kerstnacht, Schoner Dan de Dagen (O Christmas night, cleaner than the days) * *
Heer Jezus Heeft een Hofken (King Jesus Hath a Garden) * *

Hungary Christmas carols are called Karácsonyi zene
Mennyből Az Angyal (Angel from Heaven) * *
Csordapásztorok (Shepherds) * *
Pásztorok, Pásztorok (Shepherds, Shepherds) * *
Ó, gyönyörü szép, titokzatos éj! (Oh beautiful, mysterious night) * *
A kis Jézus aranyalma (Little Jesus is Born) * *

Ireland Christmas carols are called Carúl Nollag
Carúl Loch Garman, Carúl Inis Córthaidh (Good people all this Christmas time; The Wexford Carol) * *
Once in Royal David's City *
Oíche Nollag (Christmas Eve) *
Curoo, Curoo (The Carol of the Birds) * *
Don Oíche Úd I MBeithil (That Night in Bethlehem) * *
Whilst Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night *

Italy Christmas carols are called Canzoni di Natale
Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle (From Starry Skies Thou Comest) * *
Gesù Bambino (The Infant Jesus) * * *
Dormi, Dormi, Bel Bambin (Sleep, O Sleep My Lovely Child) * *
Canzone d'l Zampognari, Quanno nascette Ninno (Carol of the Bagpipes, Little song to Child Jesus; zampogna is an Italian bagpipe) * *
An instrumental version of Italy's most popular Christmas carol (Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle) -- on Italian bagpipes! *

Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful) *
Veni, Veni Emmanuel (O Come, O Come Emmanuel) * *
Dixit Maria ad Angelum (Mary Said to the Angel) * *
Laetabundus (Joy Abounding; Chant from Christmas liturgy) * *

Latin America Christmas carols are called villancicos
Canto Para Pedir Posada (Song to Ask for Shelter) * *
Mi Burrito Sabanero (My Little Grasslands Donkey) * *
Campana Sobre Campana (Bells Over Bells) * *
Pastores de Belén, venid con alegria (Shepherds of Bethlehem come with joy) * * *

Norway Christmas carols are called Julesang
Alles Oyne Vokter Deg (Advent song from Psalm 145) *
Det Lyser I Stille Grender (Light in Quiet Villages) * * *
Jeg er så glad hver julekveld (I am so glad each Christmas eve) * * *
Musevisa (The Mouse Song) * *

Philippines Christmas carols are called Pasko kanta
Ang Pasko ay Sumapit (Christmas Has Come) *
Pasko Na Naman (It's Christmas Again) * *
Namamasko or Maligayang Pasko (To The Householder We Greet; a popular carolling song) * *
Kampana ng Simbahan (Church Bells) * * *

Poland Christmas carols are called Kolęda
Bóg Się Rodzi (God is Born) * *
Oj, Maluśki, Maluśki, Maluśki (Oh, Little Baby, Tiny like a glove) * * *
Wśród Nocnej Ciszy (Into This Night's Stillness) * * *
Przybieżeli do Betlejem (Came Running to Bethlehem) * * *   *
Lulajże Jezuniu (Sleep Little Jesus) * *

Portugal Christmas carols are called Canção de Natal or Janeiras
Eu Hei de M'ir ao Presépio (I Shall Visit The Manger) * *
José Embala o Menino (Joseph Cradles The Infant Jesus) * *
Beijai o Menino (Give Infant Jesus A Kiss) * *
Natal Africano (African Carol) * *

Romania (and Moldova) Christmas carols are called colinde
O, Ce Veste Minunată! (Oh, What Wondrous Tidings) * *
Trei Crai de la Răsărit (Three Wise Men Coming From the East) * *
Astăzi s-a Născut Hristos (Today Christ Was Born) * *
Sus La Poarta Raiului (Up at Heaven's Gate) * *
Florile Dalbe (Flowers of White) * * *
Deschide uşa, creştine! (Open Your Door, Good Christian!) * *

Russia/Ukraine Коляда Christmas carols are called koliadky (Russian: Різдвяна колядка)
Бог предвічний народився (Boh predvičnyj narodilsja; God Eternal is Born) * *
Щедрик (Schedryk; New Years carol of a little swallow, familiar to westerners as Carol of the Bells) * *
В лесу родилась елочка. Новогодняя песня (The Forest Raised a Christmas Tree) * *

Spain Christmas carols are called villancicos
Ay, Del Chiquirritin (Oh, The Poor, Little Baby Boy) * *
Dime Niño, de Quién Eres (Tell Me, Child, Who are you From) * * *
Los Pastores a Belén (Shepherds of Bethlehem) * *
En el Portal de Belén/Pastores Venid (In the Gate at Bethlehem/Shepherds Come) * *
Los Peces en el Río (The Fish in the River) * * *
Hacia Belén Va Una Burra, rin, rin (A Donkey Is Going to Bethlehem) * *

Sweden Christmas carols are called Julsång
Nu Tändas Tusen Juleljus (We Have Kindled Thousands of Christmas Lights Now) * * *
Sankta Lucia (Santa Lucia Song) * *
Bonus: Look! Shepherds of Bethlehem, composed by Swedish musicologist and choral conductor Folke Bohlin (in 1973?) *

Es Ist Für Uns Eine Zeit Angekommen (Unto Us a Time has Come) * *
O du fröhliche, o du selige (O you Joyful, O you Blessed) * *
Noi siamo i tre re (We Are Three Kings; an Italian song popular in Switzerland) * *

Wales Christmas carols are called Carol Nadolig (see also Plygain Carols)
Wel Dyma'r Bore Gore I Gyd or Borau Gorau I Gyd (Behold the Finest Morn of All) * *
Suo Gân (Lullabye) * *
Oer yw'r gŵr sy'n methu caru (Deck the Halls; uses the Welsh tune Nos Galan) * *

Are you curious to know whether the US has any traditional Christmas carols that can uniquely claim to be "made in the USA?"

USA Christmas carols are called Christmas Carols
The Little Drummer Boy popularized by Maria von Trapp! *
O Little Town of Bethlehem American Nat King Cole *
It Came Upon the Midnight Clear American Johny Mathis *
We Three Kings LA's Angel City Choir *
Away in a Manger (Did you think this was German? :-) Both tunes, "Mueller" by James Murray *, and "Cradle Song" by William J. Kirkpatrick *, are American.)

Although Australia doesn't have a centuries-old tradition of singing uniquely Australian Christmas hymns, they have had to deal with songs about Christmas snow while they're in the middle of summer. Jeanne Webb, who blogs from Australia, has written about how modern song-writers have come up with some uniquely Australian songs to fit their region which you can read about here.

List compiled in Dec. 2016, updated in Dec. 2018.

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