200 years of singing Silent Night
Arguably the most famous Christmas carol of all, turned 200 years old in 2018.
The song’s lyrics were written by Joseph Mohr, a priest, in 1816. He had Franz Xaver Gruber set them to music for a Christmas Eve church service in Oberndorf, Austria, in December 1818.
In German, the carol is known as or
The song is the source of a poignant moment on Christmas Eve during the First World War in 1914.
In the midst of a declared Christmas truce between Germany and the Allied forces, accounts from the time report a German soldier, Walter Kirschoff, began to sing the song.
Nearby British soldiers could hear him, and recognizing the tune, started singing it as well, creating a brief but memorable moment of peace and tranquility between enemies.
In 2011, was granted intangible cultural heritage status by UNESCO because of its importance in world culture.