11 Christmas Songs from around the World That Will Become Your New Favorites

21 Dec 2018

As Christmas approaches, holiday songs are ringing everywhere year after year. From classic carols to holy samba, here’s a list of festive christmas songs in other languages. Let’s start with some carols that many of you are probably familiar with.

O du fröhliche – Germany


O du fröhliche is widely known as Oh how joyfully in English. This famous German Christmas carol was written more than 200 years ago, and has been translated into many languages.

O Tannenbaum – Germany


Like O du fröhliche, this Christmas hymn has German roots. It’s widely known as O Christmas Tree in English, but its melody has been adopted on many other occasions such as school songs and Maryland’s official state songs.

Les Anges dans nos campagnes – France


This 18th Century French carol is well known as Angels We Have Heard on High for English speaking people, and has been sung for centuries around the world. Who loves to sing out the Latin part “Glooooria in Excelsis Deo”?

Petit Papa Noël – France


This cheerful Christmas tune was released in 1946, originally written and performed by French singer, Tino Rossi. Today, everyone in France can sing Petit Papa Noël and so do my French speaking family, friends, and neighbors in Lausanne.

Campana Sobre Campana – Spain


This is one of the most popular Christmas songs for children in Spain. Campana Sobre Campana literally means bell after bell in English. Give it a listen and you’ll soon love this adorable melody.

FUM, FUM, FUM – Catalonia


FUM, FUM, FUM is thought to be composed in the 16th or 17th century. The word “fum” indicates literally means smoke in Catalan, and this song represents the smoke rising from a chimney. Its unique rhythms alongside the beautiful harmony will make you want to “FUM” along.

Mele Kalikimaka – Hawaii


Mele Kalikimaka, meaning Merry Christmas, has originated in 1949 and it has been covered by many artists. This tropical tune would definitely give a fresh sound to your playlist.

Betelehemu – Nigeria


This beautiful Nigerian Christmas carol is based on Yoruba language, one of the local languages in West Africa. Composed by the Grammy-nominated drummer Babatunde Olatunji in the 1950s, Betelehemu is now widely sung by school kids and many others.

Mi Burrito Sabanero – Venezuela


This adorable Venezuelan carol is originally written by Hugo Bianco in the 1970s, and became quite popular in all over Latin America. Mi Burrito Sabanero means a little donkey from the savannah.

La Fiesta de Pilito – Puerto Rico

If you get a little tired of the same old Christmas songs, salsa songs in Christmas time are just perfect. This Puerto Rico Christmas song is about the festive food and are played across Latin America, as we can imagine people singing and dancing with this party tune.

The First Noel – UK

Let’s end this list with a classical English Christmas carol, most likely from the 16th or 17th century, though very little is known about its origin.

***

What are your favorite Christmas tunes? We all know how to enjoy foreign language songs without needing to know the meaning of every single word or phrase in the lyrics. Yet, you’d need for the assistance of an interpreter when you face the situation where language obstacles appear. Music does the same, but interpreting can bridge different cultures.

We wish you happy holidays and merry Christmas!

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