Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Songs Around the World

It's time to get the Christmas party started. So why not begin the celebrations with this Smithsonian Folkways Holiday Music Map? This map is bursting with traditional holiday music, featuring songs from the the museum's Folkways Recordings collection.

The map includes 56 songs from 24 nations. Songs which celebrate the winter holidays, whether that be Christmas, Chanukah, or Kwanzaa. Using the map you can listen to an Icelandic version of 'Silent Night', 'O Tannenbaum' from Germany, 'Psalm 150' sung by the Jewish Abayudaya congregation in Uganda or traditional Christmas songs from numerous other communities around the world.

If you want to learn more about how different cultures celebrate Christmas then you can also explore the Santas Around the World map. Santa goes by many different names. In many countries he is of course Saint Nicholas, but he is also known as Father Christmas, Agios Vasilis, Shengdan Laoren and Ded Moroz.

It seems that there are two main versions of Santa's name. In many countries Santa is named after Saint Nicholas, for example 'Santa Claus' itself derives from the Dutch 'Sinterklaas', a dialectal pronunciation of Saint Nicholas. In many other countries he goes by the name of Father Christmas, for example he is 'Père Noël' in France, 'Pai Natal' in Portugal and 'Papa Noel' in Spain.

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