German Advent word of the day: Leise rieselt der Schnee

Kathrin Thams
Kathrin Thams - [email protected] • 18 Dec, 2019 Updated Wed 18 Dec 2019 09:29 CEST
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This German Christmas song is festive, peaceful, and wonderful to sing during Christmas time.

Similar to the tradition of caroling, Germans also love singing Christmas songs, varying from cute songs aimed at little ones, such as “Die Weihnachtsbäckerei” (the Christmas bakery), to tranquil songs such as “Leise rieselt der Schnee”.

What does it mean?

The song title “Leise rieselt der Schnee” translates to quietly/softly the snow trickles down, or falls.

It is about the winter and the coming of Christmas, specifically the coming of the Christ Child. Here's how it goes:

“Leise rieselt der Schnee,

Still und starr ruht der See,

Weihnachtlich glänzet der Wald:

Freue Dich, Christkind kommt bald.

In den Herzen ist’s warm,

Still schweigt Kummer und Harm,

Sorge des Lebens verhallt:

Freue Dich, Christkind kommt bald.

Bald ist heilige Nacht;

Chor der Engel erwacht;

Horch’ nur, wie lieblich es schallt:

Freue Dich, Christkind kommt bald.”

Photo: DPA

The lyrics in the first verse depict a wintery setting with a still, and rigid (frozen) lake resting, and the forest shimmering and looking Christmassy.

The chorus “ Freue Dich, Christkind kommt bald” simply means be joyful, the Christ Child is coming soon.

The second verse portrays the feelings and emotions that people endure during Christmas: Warm hearts, the absence of grief and harm and the sorrows of life dissipating.

The last verse describes the coming of Christmas Day where the choir of the angels awakens and you can hear how lovely it resounds.

What is its origin?

The song was written by the protestant pastor Eduard Ebel (1831-1905) and released  in1895 in his poem collection under “Wintergruß” (winter greeting).

He directed this song mainly to children but especially to anyone who desires to sing during the “Vorweihnachtszeit” (pre-Christmas period) in order to get into the Christmas Spirit.

What role does it play for Germans?

This song is one of the most popular ones in Germany

While Germans do not really do carols; they either sing at home with their family and friends or in choirs.

Choirs are a very common German activity. Many people are part of a choir that they attend weekly.

Usually, their year long efforts are presented at their concerts (often in spring and winter).

And a Christmas concert is a wonderful occasion to spread joy by singing Christmas songs.

Overall, the idyllic setting, joyful anticipation for Christmas, and beautiful melody of “Leise rieselt der Schnee” tunes everyone into the Christmas spirit. So check it out and join in the German Christmas Spirit.




Kathrin Thams 2019/12/18 09:29

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