German Advent word of the day: Süßer die Glocken nie klingen

Kathrin Thams
Kathrin Thams - [email protected] • 21 Dec, 2019 Updated Sat 21 Dec 2019 18:27 CEST
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Only a few days until Christmas! The angelic melody and beautiful lyrics of this song will immediately tune you into the feeling of Christmas Day, as if it were here already.

What does it mean?

The song “Süßer die Glocken nie klingen” translates to sweeter the bells never ring or the bells never sound sweeter, and is about the lovely sound of the bells that ring during Christmas time, and the effect that they have on everyone.

Here's the lyrics and a video:

“Süßer die Glocken nie klingen

Als zu der Weihnachtszeit

grad, als ob Engelein singen

Wieder von Friede und Freud'

Wie sie gesungen in heiliger Nacht

Wie sie gesungen in heiliger Nacht

Glocken, mit heiligem Klang

Klinget die Erde entlang

Und wenn die Glocken dann klingen

Gleich sie das Christkindlein hört

Tut sich vom Himmel dann schwingen

Eilet hernieder zur Erd'

Segnet den Vater, die Mutter, das Kind

Segnet den Vater, die Mutter, das Kind

Glocken mit heiligem Klang

Klinget die Erde entlang


Klinget mit lieblichem Klange

Über die Meere noch weit

Dass sich erfreuen doch alle

Seliger Weihnachtszeit

Alle dann jauchzen mit frohem Gesang

Alle dann jauchzen mit frohem Gesang

Glocken mit heiligem Klang

Klinget die Erde entlang”

The first verse depicts the sound of the bells and that the they never sound more beautiful than during the Christmas time: Their angelic ring of peace and bliss, and the holy sound that is sung and should be sung on the holy night.

The last two lines of each verse “Glocken mit heiligem Klange klinget die Erde entlang” means that the holy sound of the bells should travel throughout the world. It is basically a demand that they should ring.

The second verse describes that when the bells ring the Christ Child immediately hears them and descends to earth, to bless father, mother, and child.

The final verse portrays that everyone delights from the lovely ring of the bells that sounds far over the oceans, and that they cheer with happy singing during this  blessed Christmas time.

What is the history behind this song?

The Protestant theologian and pedagogue Friedrich Wilhelm Kritzinger (1816-1890) wrote this song in 1826 to the melody of an old Thuringian folk song.

As people were familiar to the melody of this song, “Süßer die glocken nie klingen” soon became popular.

By the end of the 19th century it could be found in various songbooks.

Germans sing this song yearly, but many have questioned the meaning of its lyrics.

The bells are described as “süß” (sweet) which usually refers to taste, but in the Middle Ages it also meant holy.

Which explains the usage of “süß” as holy bells are better fitting for Christmas and especially the Christian meaning behind Christmas than sweet bells.

Overall, the bells operate as messengers, as their ring travels widely through the air carrying their sound- the message.

They represent the spreading of the Christmas Spirit, and symbolize the joyful anticipation for Christmas and the holiness of Christmas itself.

So listen to the song and join in the Christmas Spirit.



Kathrin Thams 2019/12/21 18:27

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