Silent Night, Holy Night

By | December 10, 2016

Silent Night, Holy Night is a popular Christmas carol composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr in the small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria. The carol has been translated into about 140 languages.

The song was sung simultaneously in English and German by troops during the Christmas truce of 1914 during World War 1, as it was one carol that soldiers on both sides of the front line knew.

The Christmas truce was a series of widespread but unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front of World War 1 around Christmas 1914. In the week leading up to the holiday, French, German and British soldiers crossed trenches to exchange seasonal greetings and talk.

silent night christmas carol

Silent Night, Holy Night

By A. C. Michael – The Guardian [2] / [3]Originally published in The Illustrated London News, January 9, 1915., PD-US.

In some areas, men from both sides ventured into no man’s land on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to mingle and exchange food and souvenirs. There were joint burial ceremonies and prisoner swaps, while several meetings ended in carol-singing. Men played games of football with one another, giving one of the most memorable images of the truce. Peaceful behaviour was not ubiquitous; fighting continued in some sectors, while in others the sides settled on little more than arrangements to recover bodies.

The following year, a few units arranged ceasefires but the truces were not nearly as widespread as in 1914; this was, in part, due to strongly worded orders from the high commands of both sides prohibiting fraternisation. Soldiers were no longer amenable to truce by 1916. The war had become increasingly bitter after devastating human losses suffered during the battles of the Somme and Verdun and the incorporation of poison gas.

The truces were not unique to the Christmas period, and reflected a growing mood of “live and let live”, where infantry close together would stop overtly aggressive behaviour and often engage in small-scale fraternisation, engaging in conversation or bartering for cigarettes. In some sectors, there would be occasional ceasefires to allow soldiers to go between the lines and recover wounded or dead comrades, while in others, there would be a tacit agreement not to shoot while men rested, exercised or worked in full view of the enemy.

The Christmas truces were particularly significant due to the number of men involved and the level of their participation—even in very peaceful sectors, dozens of men openly congregating in daylight was remarkable—and are often seen as a symbolic moment of peace and humanity amidst one of the most violent events of human history.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Silent Night: by Kelly Clarkson

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
Heavenly hosts sing “Alleluia”!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour 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

Silent night, holy night
All is calm and all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

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