Singing and listening to songs that are ethnic Christmas carols during the holiday season can help you connect with your cultural roots and heritage.
Cultural Christmas Connections
The sounds of the holiday season fill the air, from your home stereo to your car to the mall to even your workplace. Listening to and performing Christmas carols has been a Christmas tradition since the holiday began. Plenty of contemporary artists produce Christmas albums and new, original songs come out each year.
Sometimes the public is so inundated with commercialized holiday music, they feel a need to return to their cultural roots. Singing and listening to ethnic Christmas carols may help people feel more connected to their families, heritage and their roots during this special time of year. Use songs in the following ways:
- To teach children or grandchildren about your family history
- To incorporate Christmas customs around the world into your celebration
- To remember a loved one who enjoyed the song
- To connect with family/friends who are in another country or far away
- To open your mind to new experiences and forms of music
Examples of Ethnic Christmas Carols
Choose Christmas carols that have a connection to you or your family. For example, if you are a descendent of Scots, then you may want to learn more about Scottish Christmas Traditions, including the music. Perhaps you visited a particular country during a summer vacation and now you want to learn more about the region's Christmas music. Your children might even be friends with a foreign exchange student in school, and want to know more about that child's background.
People around the world celebrate Christmas with their own unique music and carols. Here is a selection of just a few songs from various cultures across the globe:
Russian and Ukrainian
Russian Christmas music to enjoy might include:
- Oj Na Mori, Mori
- Tor Estwujtie, Wiesielities
- Na Nebi Zirka
While O Tannenbaum may be one of the most famous German Christmas songs, there are several more worth checking out:
- Morgen, Kinder wird's was geben
- Ihr Kinderlein, Kommet
- Alle Jahre Wieder
People in the Philippines enjoy many songs at Christmas time, including:
- Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit
- Kampana ng Simbahan
- Pasko Na Naman
Although an Irish song, The Wexford Carol's Christmas song lyrics are in English. Other Irish songs include:
- Curoo, Curoo
- I Saw Three Ships
- Once in Royal David's City
Learning ethnic Christmas songs is a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays, but can be quite challenge. Tunes in a foreign language have pronunciation difficulties unless you are all ready familiar with pronunciation and vocabulary. Some instrumentals have unique melodies and beat not commonly used in contemporary music. If you want to learn the carols, try the following methods:
- Find ethnic Christmas songs to listen to online that include the lyrics
- Purchase CDs or download Christmas songs so you can listen to them while working out, driving or doing other daily tasks
- Visit a music store and purchase Christmas sheet music that includes a pronunciation key
If you are truly interested in learning to sing or perform ethnic songs, you may want to hire a vocal coach who speaks the language of the ethnic song you want to learn. Take instrument lessons and get tips from a teacher who specializes in your instrument if you want to learn to play the song on the piano, guitar or drums.
Parodies of Carols
Sometimes in your search for ethnic Christmas carols, you may come across some parodies of songs meant to be humorous about a particular ethnic group. Whether or not you enjoy these Christmas humor parody songs, you should be aware that some people may be offended if you listen to them in their presence. Though many commercialized parodies are done in good humor, there are plenty out there which may not be appropriate for general listening.
The holidays are celebrated in many countries around the world. Expand your Christmas music collection by adding some ethnic Christmas carols to the mix.