200 Years of “Silent Night”

“Silent Night” is the most famous of all Christmas carols, having travelled the world ever since originating in Austria in 1818. Today, “Silent Night” is known in over 300 languages and dialects, and its reputation as an international peace message has been cemented by its inclusion within UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. The 200th anniversary of “Silent Night” is the perfect occasion for Austria’s provinces of SalzburgerLand, Tirol and Upper Austria to open their doors to the unique Christmas carol’s origins, drawing visitors from all over the world.

On 24th December 1818, Joseph Mohr and Franz Xaver Gruber sang "Silent Night" in Oberndorf near Salzburg for the first time. The poem was written by Mohr, a young pastor from Salzburg, and the melody was composed by the teacher and organist Gruber from Upper Austria. The Salzburg-born Joseph Mohr wrote the touching poem stanzas of "Silent Night" as a young assistant priest in Mariapfarr in Salzburg's Lungau region in 1816. Two years later he met the teacher Franz Xaver Gruber in Oberndorf and requested that he compose a melody for the poem. "Silent Night" was first performed by the two in Oberndorf's St. Nikola church.

The 200 year anniversary of what has become the world's most famous Christmas carol will be celebrated in the 13 Silent Night locations across SalzburgerLand, Tirol and Upper Austria with museum openings, special exhibitions, a new stage play and numerous events, enabling guests from all over the world to enjoy an authentic holiday experience on the traces of "Silent Night". Not many people know that it originated in SalzburgerLand, that Franz Xaver Gruber was born and raised in Upper Austria, and that the carol was spread via Tirol. Even today, many myths are in circulation, such as that it was composed by Michael Haydn, or that it is an American folk song.

For further information on the origins of "Silent Night" and the anniversary year celebrations, visit: www.stillenacht.com

© SalzburgerLand Tourismus SalzburgerLand
© Franz Xaver Gruber Gemeinschaft Oberösterreich
© Stille Nacht Gesellschaft SalzburgerLand
© Tourismus Salzburg Gmbh
© Heimat- und Museumsverein Fügen Fügen