Silent Night

Silent Night is widely regarded as one of the most popular and recognisable Christmas carols throughout history, having been translated into more than 44 languages. The original, Stille Nacht, was written by Austrian priest Father Josef Mohr and the melody was composed by Austrian headmaster Franz Xaver Gruber. The most frequently sung version in English is the 1859 translation of John Freeman Young.

It was first performed in the Nikolaus-Kirche (Church of St. Nicholas) in Oberndorf, Austria on December 24, 1818. Jozef Mohr had written the lyrics four years earlier, but brought them to Gruber on Christmas Eve and asked to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for the church service on that eve.

Silent Night was one of the songs sung during the Christmas Truce of 1914, since it was one of the few songs that both German and English soldiers knew.

It is arguably also one of the few Christmas carols in history with its own society, namely Austria’s Silent Night Society. This society holds that there are many romantic stories and legends attached to the carol, which is sometimes intertwined with historical facts.