List of Christmas carols

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A Christmas carol is a carol whose lyrics center on the theme of Christmas or that has become associated with the Christmas season even though its lyrics may not specifically refer to Christmas. Both types of Christmas carols are included in this list.

Traditional Christmas carols mainly focus on the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus. Other Christmas songs focus on more secular Christmas themes, such as winter scenes, family gatherings, and Santa Claus.

The list is organised according to the original language of the carol.

Catalan[edit]

Carol Composer /Lyricist Year published Notes
"Fum, Fum, Fum" ("El vint-i-cinc de desembre") 16th century The word "fum" may imitate the sound of a drum (or perhaps the strumming of a guitar). "Fum" means "smoke"(noun) in Catalan.
"El noi de la mare" (lit. "The Son of the Virgin") Traditional 17th-18th century Also known as "Carol of the Gifts"[1]
Guitar arrangement of "El noi de la mare"
"A Betlem me'n vull anar" (lit. "I want to go to Bethlehem") Traditional
"El dimoni escuat" (lit. "the devil with no tail") Traditional
"Ara ve Nadal" (lit. "Christmas is coming") Traditional
"Les dotze van tocant" (lit. "Ringing twelve o'clock") Traditional
"Descanseu ben alegres" (lit. "Rest very happy") Traditional
"Pastorets de la muntanya" (lit. "Shepherds from the mountain") Traditional
"El desembre congelat" (lit. "Frozen December") Traditional
"Sant Josep i la Mare de Déu" (lit. "Saint Joseph and the Virgin Mary") Traditional
"La pastor Caterina" (lit. "Caterina, the shephard") Traditional
"Anem a Betlem" (lit. "We're going to Bethlehem") Traditional
"El rabadà" (lit. "The shephard") Traditional

Czech[edit]

Carol Composer /Lyricist Year published Notes
"Nesem vám noviny" ("We bring you good news, hark!") traditional from Bohemia "Come, All Ye Shepherds" (Ma­ri Ruef Ho­fer, 1912)
German: "Kommet, ihr Hirten" (Carl Riedel, ca. 1870)
"Půjdem spolu do Betléma" ("We are going to go to Bethlehem.") traditional from Bohemia
"Štědrý večer nastal" ("Christmas Eve is now.") traditional from Bohemia
"Pásli ovce valaši" ("The men from Valassko are taking sheep out.") traditional from Bohemia
"Narodil se Kristus Pán" ("Jesus was born") traditional from Bohemia 1505
"Tichá noc" ("Silent night") traditional from Bohemia "Silent Night"
"Jak si krásné neviňátko" ("How beautiful you are, baby (means Jesus)") traditional from Bohemia
"Zither Carol" Czech folk tune 1958 English lyrics by Malcolm Sargent, set to a traditional tune.[2] "Girls and boys, leave your toys..."

English[edit]

Carol Composer /Lyricist Year published Notes
"Adam Lay Ybounden" Set by numerous composers, most notably by Boris Ord and Peter Warlock 15th century
"Angels from the Realms of Glory" words: James Montgomery; music (US): to the tune of "Regent Square" (UK): a slightly different arrangement of "Angels We Have Heard on High" ("Gloria") 1816
"Angels We Have Heard on High" based on traditional hymn "Gloria" (a French traditional carol "Les Anges dans nos Campagnes"); English translation by Bishop James Chadwick, tune arranged by Edward Shippen Barnes 1862
"Away in a Manger" first two stanzas attributed to unknown author; third stanza written by John McFarland (1904) 1885
"Boar's Head Carol" English traditional
"Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella" translation of the French "Un flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle!"
"Calypso Carol" ("See him lying on a bed of straw") Michael Perry 1969 Written in 1964 for a college concert
"Candlelight Carol" John Rutter 1984
"The Cherry Tree Carol" English traditional
"Children, Go Where I Send Thee"
"Christians Awake" John Byrom 1746
"A Christmas Carol" words and music: Charles E. Ives 1894
"Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" Charles Wesley 1749
"Coventry Carol" ("Lullay, Thou Tiny Little Child") English traditional
"Deck the Hall" Thomas Oliphant (English lyrics) 1862-74 based on the Welsh traditional "Oer yw'r gŵr sy'n methu caru"
"Ding Dong Merrily on High" music: Jehan Tabourot, words: George Ratcliffe Woodward
"Down in Yon Forest" English traditional
"Do You Hear What I Hear?" written by Noël Regney and Gloria Shayne 1962
"Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains" words and music: John Menzies Macfarlane 1869
"The First Nowell" ("The First Noël") English traditional 1823 First published in Carols Ancient and Modern by William Sandys
"The Friendly Beasts"

There's a Song In the Air

"Gabriel's Message" translated into English by Sabine Baring-Gould from the Basque traditional carol "Birjina gaztettobat zegoen"
"Glory to God" ("Ere Zij God") Dutch traditional
"Go Tell It on the Mountain" Lyrics by John W. Work 1865 African-American spiritual dating at least to 1865
"God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" English traditional 1833 Published by William Sandys; author unknown
"Good King Wenceslas" words: John Mason Neale, music: tune from Piae Cantiones 1853
"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" *music: Felix Mendelssohn, words: Charles Wesley, amended by George Whitefield and Martin Madan originally as part of Festgesang, adapted and harmonised by William Hayman Cummings; descant for verse 3 added in 1961 by Sir David Willcocks for the Carols for Choirs books
"Here We Come A-Wassailing" English traditional c. 1850
"The Holly and the Ivy" English traditional
"Huron Carol" ("'Twas in the Moon of Wintertime") Fr. Jean de Brebeuf (1593-1649) Traditional Canadian Carol

words in Huron First Nations language later translated to French and English

"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" words: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, music: Johnny Marks
"I Pray on Christmas" written and by Harry Connick, Jr.
"I Saw Three Ships (Come Sailing In)" English traditional 1833 Published by William Sandys; parent tune "Greensleeves" dates to 17th century
"In Dulci Jubilo" ("Good Christian Men, Rejoice" or "Good Christian Friends, Rejoice") Macaronic carol known in several translations
"In the Bleak Midwinter" words: Christina Rossetti, music: Gustav Holst
"Infant Holy, Infant Lowly" ("W żłobie leży") Polish traditional
"It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" words: Edmund Hamilton Sears, music: Richard Storrs Willis, 1849
"I Wonder as I Wander" John Jacob Niles 1934 Based on a fragment collected by Niles in Murphy, North Carolina in 1933.
"Jesus Christ the Apple Tree"
"Joy to the World" words: Isaac Watts based on Psalm 98, music: arranged by Lowell Mason based on themes in Handel's Messiah
"Judea" music: William Billings
"Little Donkey" written by Eric Boswell
"The Little Drummer Boy" ("Carol of the Drum") written by Katherine K. Davis 1957
"Love Came Down at Christmas" words: Christina Rossetti, music: various
"March of the Kings"
"Mary, Did You Know?" words: Mark Lowry, music: Buddy Greene 1984 /
1990
"Mary's Boy Child" (Mary's Little Boy Child) written by Jester Hairston 1956
"Mother Mary" written by Dennis Allen Cooke
"Night of Silence" words and music: Daniel Kantor written to be sung simultaneously with "Silent Night"
"O Christmas Tree" ("O Tannenbaum") words and music: Ernst Anschütz 1824
"O come, O come, Emmanuel" ("Veni, Veni, Emmanuel") strictly an Advent hymn
"O Holy Night" words: Placide Cappeau de Rouquemaure, translated by John Sullivan Dwight, music: Adolphe Adam
"O Little Town of Bethlehem" words: Phillips Brooks, music (US): Lewis H. Redner, music (UK): traditional tune: "Forest Green" (a.k.a. "The Ploughboy's Dream")
"Of the Father's Love Begotten" ("Of the Father's Heart Begotten") music: tune from Piae Cantiones
"Once in Royal David's City" words: Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander, music: Henry John Gauntlett, (Irby)
"Past Three O'Clock" (or "Past Three a Clock") English traditional, with verses written by George Ratcliffe Woodward first published in The Cowley Carol Book with a harmonisation by Charles Wood
"Rocking Carol" ("Jesu, Jesu, Baby Dear" or "Little Jesus") Loose translation of Czech traditional carol "Hajej, nynej, Ježíšku" by Percy Dearmer First published in the Oxford Book of Carols (1928); popularised by Julie Andrews (1965) & The Carpenters (1984)
"Sans Day Carol" Cornish traditional
"See, Amid the Winter's Snow" words: Edward Caswall, music: John Goss
"The Seven Joys of Mary" English traditional
"Silent Night" ("Stille Nacht! heilige Nacht!") written by Franz Xaver Gruber and Josef Mohr, best known in the English translation by John Freeman Young
"Star of the East" written by Alfred Hans Zoller, translation by George Cooper in 1890, music by Amanda Kennedy in 1883 1890
"The Sussex Carol" ("On Christmas Night All Christians Sing") English traditional
"Sweet Little Jesus Boy"
"This Endris Night" Traditional 15th century
"Torches" composed by John Joubert 1951
"A Virgin Unspotted" ("A Virgin Most Pure") English traditional
"We Three Kings of Orient Are" ("Three Kings of Orient") written by Rev. John Henry Hopkins 1863 strictly an Epiphany carol
"The Wexford Carol" ("Good People All, This Christmastide") Irish traditional Sometimes known as the "Enniscorthy Carol"
"What Child Is This?" music: traditional English song "Greensleeves", words: William Chatterton Dix
"Whence Is That Lovely Fragrance Wafting" ("Whence Is That Goodly Fragrance Flowing?") ("Quelle est cette odeur agréable?") French traditional
"While by My Sheep I Watched at Night"
"While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks" words: Nahum Tate, music (UK): "Winchester Old" from Este's Psalter adapted from Christopher Tye, music (US): adapted from Handel O Come All Ye Faithful by Chris Tomlin

Filipino[edit]

Carol Composer /Lyricist Year published Notes
"Ang Pasko ay Sumapit" (Christmas Has Come) Tagalog lyrics by Levi Celerio: adapted from Cebuano lyrics by Vicente Rubi, Mariano Vestil 1933 A loose translation of the original Cebuano Kasadya ni'ng Táknaa

Finnish[edit]

Carol Composer /Lyricist Year published Notes
"En etsi valtaa, loistoa" ("Give Me No Splendour, Gold, or Pomp") words by Zachris Topelius (1887; Finnish translation by Martti Korpilahti, 1909); music by Jean Sibelius (1895) Translated from Finland Swedish "Giv mig ej glans, ej guld, ej prakt"
"Joulun kellot" ("Christmas Bells") words by Helmi Auvinen (1897); music by Armas Maasalo (1914)
"Tonttu"[disambiguation needed]

French[edit]

Carol Composer /Lyricist Year published Notes
"Il est né, le divin enfant" Traditional French c. 1875
"Les Anges dans nos campagnes" Translated into English as "Angels We Have Heard on High"
"Minuit, Chrétiens" (Cantique de Noël) lyrics: Placide Cappeau, music: Alphonse Adam 1843 (lyrics), 1847 (music) Translated into English as "O Holy Night"
"Noël nouvelet" 15th century[3] Translated into English as "Sing We Now of Christmas"
"Patapan" ("Guillô, pran ton tamborin!") Burgundian traditional Title translation: Willy, take your tambourine
"Petit Papa Noël" lyrics: Raymond Vincy; music: Henri Martinet 1946
"Quelle est cette odeur agréable?" Translated into English as "Whence Is That Goodly Fragrance Flowing?"
"Un flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle" 1553 Translated into English as "Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella"

German[edit]

Carol Composer /Lyricist Year published Notes
"Alle Jahre wieder" ("Every Year Again") Friedrich Silcher /Wilhelm Hey 1837
"Es ist ein Ros entsprungen" ("A rose has sprung up") Anonymous 16th century Translated into English as "Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming", "Lo, There A Rose Is Blooming" and "There Is A Flower Springing"
"Es ist für uns eine Zeit angekommen" ("The Time Has Arrived for Us") Swiss traditional 19th century
"Ihr Kinderlein, kommet" ("Oh, Come, Little Children") Johann Abraham Peter Schulz /
Christoph von Schmid
1794 (music)/
1798 (lyrics)/
1832 (combination of text and music)
"Kling Glöckchen" ("Ring Little Bell") traditional /Karl Enslin 19th century
"Lasst uns froh und munter sein" ("Let Us Be Happy and Cheerful") traditional from the Hunsrück this song is traditionally sung at Nicholas Eve on December 5
"Leise rieselt der Schnee" ("Softly Falls Every Snow Flake") Eduard Ebel / Eduard Ebel about 1900
"Maria durch ein Dornwald ging" ("Maria Walks Amid the Thorns") traditional from Hesse
"Morgen, Kinder, wird's was geben" ("Tomorrow, Children, Something Special Will Happen") Carl Gottlieb Haring / Philipp Bartsch 1850
"O du fröhliche" ("Oh You Joyful") Johannes Daniel Falk / Heinrich Holzschuher 1816
"O Tannenbaum" ("O Christmas Tree") German traditional
"Schneeflöckchen, Weissröckchen" ("Little Snow Flake, Little White Coat") Hedwig Haberkern 1869
"Still, still, still" Maria Vinzenz Süß / G. Götsch 1865
"Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht" ("Silent Night") Josef Mohr / Franz Xaver Gruber 1818
"Tausend Sterne sind ein Dom" ("Thousands Stars Form a Dome") Siegfried Köhler / Siegfried Köhler 1946
"Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her" ("From Heaven Above to Earth I Come") traditional / Martin Luther 16th century
"Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern" ("How Lovely Shines the Morning Star") Philipp Nicolai 16th century

Hungarian[edit]

Carol Composer /Lyricist Year published Notes
"Mennyből az angyal" ("Angels from Heaven")
"Csendes éj" ("Silent Night")
"Pásztorok, Pásztorok"
"Kis karácsony, nagy karácsony"
"Ó, gyönyörű szép"

Huron[edit]

Carol Composer /Lyricist Year published Notes
"Jesous Ahatonhia" ("Huron Carol") Jean de Brébeuf 1643 "Jesus, he is born". Also known as "Twas in the Moon of Wintertime" after English translation (1926) by Jesse Edgar Middleton.

Irish[edit]

Carol Composer /Lyricist Year published Notes
"Don Oíche úd I mBeithil"
"The Wexford Carol"

Italian[edit]

Carol Composer /Lyricist Year published Notes
"Gesù bambino" ("The Infant Jesus") Pietro Yon 1917 "When Blossoms Flowered" in English
"Tu scendi dalle stelle" ("From Starry Skies Thou Comest") Italian traditional
"Dormi, dormi, bel Bambin"

Latin[edit]

Carol Composer /Lyricist Year published Notes
"Adeste Fideles" ("O Come All Ye Faithful") attributed to John Francis Wade, Latin words translated by Frederick Oakeley c. 1743
"Gaudete" ("Rejoice") sacred Christmas carol 1582 popularised by Steeleye Span (1973)
"In Dulci Jubilo" ("Good Christian Men, Rejoice")
"O Sanctissima" ("O du Fröhliche" or "Oh, How Joyfully")

Norwegian[edit]

Carol Composer /Lyricist Year published Notes
"Musevisa" Alf Prøysen 1946 Lyrics are by Prøysen, set to a traditional tune.[4]

Polish[edit]

Carol Composer /Lyricist Year published Notes
"Ach, ubogi żłobie" Traditional
"Anioł pasterzom mówił" Traditional
"Bóg się rodzi" ("God is born") Franciszek Karpiński 1792
"Cicha noc" ("Silent Night")
"Do szopy, hej pasterze" Traditional
"Dzisiaj w Betlejem" ("Today in Bethlehem") Traditional
"Gdy się Chrystus rodzi" Traditional
"Gdy śliczna panna" Traditional
"Hej w dzień narodzenia" Traditional
"Jezus malusieńki" Traditional
"Lulajże, Jezuniu" Traditional Frédéric Chopin used this Christmas carol in the Scherzo in B minor, Op. 20
"Mędrcy świata, Monarchowie" Traditional
"Mizerna cicha" Jan Gall / Teofil Lenartowicz 1849
"Przybieżeli do Betlejem" Traditional
"Tryumfy Króla Niebieskiego" Traditional
"W żłobie leży" (Infant Holy, Infant Lowly) Piotr Skarga 17th century
"Wśród nocnej ciszy" Traditional
"Wesołą nowinę" Traditional
"Z narodzenia Pana" Traditional

Romanian[edit]

Carol Composer /Lyricist Year published Notes
"O, ce veste minunată!" Traditional
"Pluguşorul" Traditional related rather to New Year's Eve
"Deschide uşa, creştine!" Traditional
"Linu-i lin." Traditional
"Florile dalbe" Traditional
"Domn,domn sa-năltăm!" Traditional
"Leganelul Lui Iisus" Traditional
"Asta-i seara de Craciun" Traditional
"Ho,ho,ho!" Stefan Banica JR. 2009
"Impodobeste mama bradul" Fuego

Spanish[edit]

Carol Composer /Lyricist Year published Notes
"Feliz Navidad" José Feliciano 1970
"Arre borriquito" Traditional
"Hacia Belén va una burra" Traditional
"Ay del chiquirritín" Traditional
"Ande, ande, ande la marimorena" Traditional
"Dime niño de quién eres" Traditional
"Canta, ríe y bebe" Traditional
"Las doce palabritas" Traditional
"No hay tal andar" Traditional
"Los campanilleros" Traditional
"Ya vienen los Reyes Magos" Traditional
"Campana sobre campana" Traditional
"Noche de paz" ("Silent Night")
"Blanca Navidad" ("White Christmas")
"Los peces en el río" Traditional
"Alepún" Traditional
"Alegría, alegría y placer" Traditional
"Pastores venid" Traditional
"Mi burrito sabanero" Traditional
"A la Nanita Nana" Traditional 18th century

Swedish[edit]

Carol Composer /Lyricist Year published Notes
"Giv mig ej glans, ej guld, ej prakt" ("Give Me No Splendour, Gold, or Pomp") words by Zachris Topelius (1887); music by Jean Sibelius (1895) Finland Swedish song
"Gläns över sjö och strand" ("Shine Over the Lake and the Beach") words by Viktor Rydberg (1891) music by Alice Tegnér (1893)
"När det lider mot jul" ("When Christmas Has Come")
"Nu har vi ljus här i vårt hus" ("We have Kindled the Candles in Our House Now") in Sweden it is tradition to dance around the Christmas tree and sing, this being one of the traditional songs sung
"Nu tändas tusen juleljus" ("We Have Kindled Thousands of Christmas Lights Now") words and music by Emmy Köhler
"Räven raskar över isen" (The Fox Is Sliding Over the Ice) in Sweden it is tradition to dance around the Christmas tree and sing, this being one of the traditional songs sung
"Sankta Lucia"
"Var hälsad, sköna morgonstund" ("All Hail to Thee, O Blessed Morn") words by Johan Olof Wallin; music by Philipp Nicolai

Ukrainian[edit]

Carol Composer /Lyricist Year published Notes
"Бог предвічний народився"
"Boh predvichnyi narodyvsia"
(God Eternal is born)
1790 [5] Probably considered the quintessential Ukrainian carol
"Небо і земля нині торжествують"
"Nebo i zemlia nyni torzhestvuiut'"
(Heaven and Earth rejoice today)
1790 [5] Refrain is often sung as a round.
Note 1
"Бог ся рождає"
"Boh sia rozhdaie"
(God is born)
Остап Нижанківський (1862—1919)
Ostap Nyzhankivs'kyi
"Во Вифлиємі нині новина"
"Vo Vyfleiemi nyni novyna"
(In Bethlehem today there are tidings)
Остап Нижанківський (1862—1919)
Ostap Nyzhankivs'kyi
"Добрий вечір тобі"
"Dobryi vechir tobi"
(Good Evening to you)
Sung when caroling, upon arrival at a house; not used in church.
Нова радість стала
"Nova radist' stala"
(A new joy came)
1790 [5]
На небі зірка ясна засяла
"Na nebi zirka yasna zasiala"
(In the heavens a bright star shone)
По всьому світу стала новина
"Po vsiomu svitu stala novyna"
(Over all the Earth a new event occurred)
"Виді Бог, виді Сотворитель"
"Vydi Boh, vydi Sotvorytel'"
(God, the Creator, sees)
apocryphal
arr. Кирило Стеценко (Kyrylo Stetsenko)
1790 [5]
Спи, Ісусе, спи
"Spy, Isuse, spy"
(Sleep, Jesus, sleep)
"Днесь поюще"
"Dnes' poiushche"
(Singing today)
arr. Кирило Стеценко (Kyrylo Stetsenko)
Тиха ніч, свята ніч
"Tykha nich, sviata nich"
(Silent night, Holy night)
A translation of Stille Nacht Joseph Mohr/Franz Xaver Gruber into Ukrainian.
"Щедрик"
"Schedryk"
Микола Леонтович
Mykola (=Nicholas) Leontovych
Not truly a Christmas carol, but rather, a secular song of good wishes for prosperity, traditionally sung on Щедрий Вечір (Shchedryi Vechir, i.e. Theophany Eve). Melody used for the English "Carol of the Bells" and, in the 1970s-80s, for André champagne commercials.

See also: Список українських колядок і щедрівок (List of Ukrainian carols and shchedrivky; includes recordings of many of the same.)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ OUP
  2. ^ OUP
  3. ^ The Hymns and Carols of Christmas
  4. ^ Aftenposten (Norwegian)
  5. ^ a b c d First printed in the Богогласник, a collection of religious songs, late 18th century