As every year, the Christmas carol “Silent Night, Holy Night“ accompanies us through the Christmas period. Many are already eagerly awaiting Advent and the run up to Christmas in October, others switch off the radio at the sound of the first Christmas song or even change station.
Advent is supposed to be the most reflective time of year. In reality, things look very different however, we rush from one shop to the next to buy Christmas presents, after work visit the Christmas market, not to mention bake Christmas biscuits. Your thoughts are ever whirling around Christmas presents and whether you haven’t forgotten anyone. Maybe your fourth cousin’s uncle is going to pop by.
This year, thing’s really will be different and maybe the pre-Christmas period really will be reflective. This year, I think we have reset our priorities and come to realise what’s really important. As unfortunately Christmas markets aren’t taking place this year, I’m quite content to spend time with my family enjoying Christmas biscuits, punch and mulled wine. I’ve even managed to bake a colourful collection of biscuits – now that’s something.
I also like spending time in front of a warm fireplace with a good book. On the lookout for nice Christmas stories, I come across the author Karl Heinrich Waggerl time and again. Have you heard of him? He lived in Wagrain for over 50 years. Nowadays his house is known as the Waggerl Haus Museum.
I got stuck on the story “Why the Christ Child had to smile”. In the tale, the Archangel cleaned the stables in Bethlehem, but forgot a little flea. This wanted to disappear quickly and used baby Jesus‘ ear to jump off. This tickled baby Jesus and he therefore had to smile for the first time.
Have you also wondered about the origins of the world-famous carol “Silent Night, Holy Night“? How it became so famous and why it was written? Then keep reading, I’ll now tell you a little bit about it.
Did you know that the song text was actually written as a poem? The assistant priest, Joseph Mohr, wrote it in 1816 in Mariapfarr. At his request Franz Xaver Gruber composed a melody to the poem just before Christmas in 1818. On Christmas Eve the two performed the world-famous song for the first time as a male duet in Oberndorf. Accompanied by Mohr on the guitar. He was, therefore, not only the poet of the Christmas carol, but also the initiator. Unfortunately, the motive behind the composition of the song is not clear, but it is rumoured that the little church organ was out of order and therefore the two men composed a song with guitar accompaniment.
Do you know the words of the carol off by heart? Then you can sing it this year when celebrating with your family in honour of Joseph Mohr and Franz Xaver Gruber. On this note I’d like to wish you all a wonderful and cosy Christmas festival. By the way, did you know that Joseph Mohr was also a priest in Wagrain and did lots of good deeds?
Photo credits: Belina Huttegger, Wagrain-Kleinarl Tourismus, Montree Ladlongmuang