The Origin of Silent Night

Riedesel_Christmas_Tree

Riesdesel Christmas Tree

Christmas Eve 1818, marked the debut of the beloved Christmas carol, Silent Night. Father Josef Mohr composed the words in 1816 but waited until 1818 to present them to headmaster, Franz Gruber, and asked him to compose a melody for guitar and voice. Some believe it was a desperate measure to have music in church despite the damaged organ due to recent flooding. Other historians believe the organ was functional; they simply wanted something different for their congregation that year for their Christmas service. Regardless of their motive, they performed the song Stille Nacht on Christmas Eve on the guitar for church service in Nicola-Kirche in Oberndorf, Austria on December 24, 1818. It was, clearly, an unforgettable service with what has become one of the most popular carols of all time.

It is even known as “the carol that stopped the war,” at least briefly, when during World War II, German soldiers put down their guns and sang Stille Nacht to the British. British troops joined in, singing in English, resulting in a one-night cease fire and spontaneous celebrations between enemies. You can read more about that here.

I can hardly listen to my favorite version of that song, Stille Nacht by Manheim Steamroller, without it bringing tears to my eyes. Here it is:

I wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas.