So I'm proud to present my video below, singing all three of the original German verses.
Back in 1993, when “Silent Night” turned 175, I had the privilege of leading a group of my Slovak secondary-school students in a rendition. Since they had a language-focused curriculum, they were quite capable of pulling off the quadrilingual version: the original German text, followed by verses in English and French, and finally Slovak, the home language.
As far as travel goes, I’ve been in the Salzburg region several times, but I’ve still never made it to the Silent Night Chapel. It's not the original building where it was performed – that St. Nicholas Church was demolished due to severe flood damage in the late 1800s. The new chapel was completed in 1924, spurred in part by the desire to honor the 100th anniversary of the song in 1918 – but that came at a very difficult time at the end of World War I.
This fact fits in with my numerous writings on anniversaries this year, many having to do with the tumult of a century ago, but also with subjects like the 50th anniversary of the Prague Spring and subsequent Soviet invasion.
I’ll post an essay on that subject later in the week. Till then, keep safe, and enjoy your holidays!