Christmas in Poland on PolishWorld

Christmas Carols

christmas carols singer

Polish Christmas carols are almost all anonymous, having been composed by the people. Their origins date from the fourteen century, many from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. W Zlobie Lezy, credited with originating in the fourteenth century, is considered the first Polonaise.

The Polish carol has an essentially folk song character, which makes it specifically national. The melodies are characteristically Polish - gay, tender, even humorous - typical of the Polish peasant or mountaineer. There is a native unconscious poetry about all of them. The Infant Jesus, poor and homeless, born in a stable surrounded by the familiar domestic animals, appeals to the heart and the imagination of all peoples.

Polish Christmas carols may be divided into three kinds - religious, legendary, and imaginative. The religious, among the most beautiful and profound in feeling of all Polish hymns, owe their origin to monks in cloisters. The legendary, based on the books of the Apocrypha, contain many legends and details for which strict historical truth cannot be assumed. Hence the Church did not accept them, but they appealed to the people who loved to sing of the many wonders, the adoring shepherds and the speaking animals. The third, or imaginative, owe their origin to people of humble birth, who in relating the story of the Nativity used familiar surroundings taken from their own homes. Thus Bethlehem became a Polish village and Jesus was born in Poland. These carols often contain merry dance rhythms like the Krakowiak and the Mazurka and are called "Shepherd's Carols".

by Cecily Kowalewska Helgesen from Treasured Polish Songs.

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festive line

Quickly On To Bethlehem
(Przybiezeli do Betlejem)

Giving their respects in all humility,
To the Infant Jesus from hearts lovingly,
Glory to God on Highest
Glory to God on Highest
And on earth, peace to men.

Oddawali swe uklony w pokorze,
Tobie z serca ochotnego, o Boze!
Chwala na wysokosci,
Chwala na wysokosci,
A pokoj na ziemi.

Macintosh Users!
download 14 Polish Chrismas carols music samples courtesy of Jacek Iwanski.

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