Home » Austria » Salzburg country » Salzburg » How the lyrics Silent Night cast a spell on the world

How the lyrics Silent Night cast a spell on the world

Lyrics Silent Night premiered in Oberndorf
In Oberndorf the lyrics Silent Night premiered

Silent Night Holy Night in Oberndorf

The lyrics Silent Night is not only known in German-speaking countries. In the meantime, he has conquered the whole world. There is hardly a country that does not have that Christmas time "Silent Night, Holy Night" resounds from the speakers. No matter whether in shopping centers or at home. The song text Silent Night has made its triumphal march around the world with flying colors. The lyrics weren't exactly in the cradle. Its author, Joseph Mohr, was a simple pastor from Oberndorf. His life path from Salzburg had led him there. Here he wrote the text of the song on December 24, 1818, which is sung all over the world for Christmas today.

This is the complete Silent Night Holy Night text

Silent Night! Holy Night!
Everything is asleep, lonely wakes
only the faithful sacrosanct couple.
"Gentle boy in curly hair,
sleep in heavenly peace
sleep in heavenly peace! "

Silent Night! Holy Night!
God's son, oh how laughing
love from your divine mouth,
since the saving hour strikes us:
Jesus in your birth.
Jesus in your birth.

Silent Night! Holy Night!
Brought to the world salvation,
from the sky golden heights
let us see the mercy of abundance:
Jesus in human form.
Jesus in human form.

Silent Night! Holy Night!
Where today all power is
fatherly love poured,
and as a brother cordially enclosed
Jesus the peoples of the world.
Jesus the peoples of the world.

Silent Night! Holy Night!
Long thoughtful,
as the Lord, freed from the wrath,
in the fathers' early hours
promised protection to all the world
promised protection to all the world.

Silent Night Holy Night,
Shepherds first announced!
by the angel Halleluja
it sounds aloud from far and near:
Jesus, the Savior is here!
Jesus, the Savior is here!

I did not know before that there are six verses to this song. Usually only the first two and last stanzas of the song are sung. After Joseph Mohr had finished his text, he went to Arnsdorf village school teacher and organist Franz Xaver Gruber. He wrote a melody for it on the same day. That's how the song Silent Night Holy Night came about.

Oberndorf - place of origin of Silent Night

The St. Nikolai Church, where the song was sung for the first time, no longer exists today. Oberndorf has instead built a small chapel in this place, reminiscent of the two creators of the most famous Christmas carol in the world. The chapel is just a few steps from the banks of the Salzach River. This separates the Austrian Oberndorf from Bavarian Laufen on the other side of the river. On the other side of the chapel, there is a small museum that tells the story of the song and its two creators. In it 1818 was the house of the knife.

Hard childhood Joseph Mohrs in Salzburg

Joseph Mohr was an outcast son from the beginning an outcast. His mother and father were prevented by the Napoleonic Wars from carrying out their marriage before the birth of their son. Instead, the father went to war and came back years later. In the meantime, the mother fought to give her son a reasonably bearable life. This became the custody of the Domvikars of Salzburg, who sent him to high school. This was also the one who ensured that Joseph Mohr could study theology. The completion of his studies, however, did not entitle the young Joseph to enter the service of the Church. It even needed a special permission of the pope. Only after he had received these, he could take a job as assistant pastor in Oberndorf. More about the Life story of Joseph Mohr you will learn in this article.

An impression of Oberndorf and the memorial chapel to the two creators of the most famous Christmas carol in the world will be provided by Petar's video. From here, the lyrics Silent Night began its triumphal march around the world. Check it out. It's worth taking a look:

Videos are subject to copyright

The lyrics Silent Night made Joseph Mohr famous

At least after his death. Because during his life Joseph Mohr did not have much of it. The song ended with the midnight hit of the 24. December 1818 performed for the first time in the church of Oberndorf. It was not long before it was sung in other places. The organ builder Karl Mauracher probably got the ball rolling. He heard the song and took it to his hometown of Fügen. There it was sung for Christmas next year. 1833 was printed for the first time on a leaflet in Dresden, where it was one of four songs allegedly from Tyrol. Nobody knew then the auxiliary pastor and the composer of the song, Franz Xaver Gruber. It was spread by the siblings Strasser, who traveled with Tyrolean songs across the country.

Franz Xaver Gruber - The composer of the song

Conrad Franz Xaver Gruber came from the small town of Ach an der Salzach, just a few kilometers from Burghausen. Originally he was to become a linen weaver like his father. However, his teacher recognized the musical talent of the young Franz Xaver. He convinced his father to allow him to become a teacher. As such, he had to deal intensively with music. Already 1805 he began his musical education at the Stadtpfarrorganisten Georg Hartdobler in neighboring Burghausen. He trained as a teacher in Ried im Innkreis and in Salzburg. He finally got his first job as a teacher in Arnsdorf. To improve his financial situation, he took over the duties of organist and cantor in the St. Nikolai Church in Oberndorf from 1816 to 1829. There, Joseph Mohr and Franz Xaver Gruber met and became friends.

World premiere of the Christmas carol in Oberndorf

In the St. Nikolai Church, the two finally led the 24. December 1818 wrote the song that they had written and composed the same day. Gruber accompanied it on the organ, and Mohr played the guitar. In remembrance of this, there are the Silent Night history games during the Advent season, in which this remarkable evening is remembered. Even today, the lyrics Silent Night and the accompanying music fascinate people all over the world. The song is now part of the intangible world cultural heritage of Austria. Singers, missionaries and a clever promotion helped make the song known worldwide. Today you sing it in 330 different languages ​​and dialects at Christmas time.

The Silent Night History Game

At these events, visitors follow the Silent Night Thematic Trail in Oberndorf (about 1,5 hours) and then visit the history game in Laufen (2 hours). Event dates 2019 are as follows:

30. November 2019

16: 00 Silent Night Thematic Trail Oberndorf, 18: 00 History Game Salzachhalle Laufen

01. December 2019

14: 00 Silent Night Thematic Trail Oberndorf, 16: 00 History Game Salzachhalle Laufen

07. December 2019

16: 00 Silent Night Thematic Trail Oberndorf, 18: 00 History Game Salzachhalle Laufen

08. December 2019

14: 00 Silent Night Thematic Trail Oberndorf, 16: 00 History Game Salzachhalle Laufen

You can order the cards at Tourist Office Oberndorf, Silent Night Place 7, e-mail: office@stillenacht-oberndorf.at or by phone at + 43 (0) 6272 / 4422.

Price in advance: 23, - €; ,

Travel Arrangements:

Arrival by plane, train and bus

Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and other airlines fly to Salzburg. Possible is the journey by train to Salzburg. You can also use long-distance buses * to Salzburg.

Rental car:

Cheap car hire - book here! *

Accommodation in Salzburg

Hotels in Salzburg * Book online via booking.com. Accommodation in Oberndorf * you can find under this link.

Winter in Salzburg

You are in Winter in Salzburg *? Then take advantage of the great winter offers for exploring the city.

Our travel tips for Salzburg

These so called more travel tips we tested ourselves. Maybe there is something for you?

Find more Slow Travel Tips and recommendations too Customs & Lifestyle here.

Source: own research for the article about the lyrics silent night on site. We would like to thank Salt and the City, Salzburg Tourism and Tourism Salzburg Lakeland for the kind support in this research. However, our opinion remains unaffected.

Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Video: © Copyright Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline


  1. Tanya
    | Reply

    In fact, I knew that the song includes 6 stanzas.
    My dad used to love it when we sing as a family in the run up to Christmas. ;-)
    But this is another story… ;-)
    Actually, I did not know the story behind the song yet.
    Again something learned.


    • Monika & Petar Fox
      | Reply

      Hello Tanya,

      I did not know that the song has six stanzas. But as you know, you never learn. I also found the story of the two songwriters very interesting because both of them are from the region in which we now live.

      Best regards,

  2. Shadowlight
    | Reply

    But that's also a great song :)!

Leave a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked with * .