Destination: Christmas #11

This Christmas series is brought to you thanks to Book Riot’s Literary Advent Calendar. It’s a combination of poetry, short stories, and essays. I’ll be posting every day, some days twice to keep up with my regular posts. Click the story title for the full text. Now, let’s get this Christmas show on the road!

Day 11

The Huron Carol

I’ve had a surprisingly productive day and yet, somehow, not as productive as I thought it was going to be. I’m making a convoluted cake recipe, which involves making other recipes in order to complete the first one. This is what I get for opening my cookbooks and choosing the thing with the most alcohol content in the recipe. Shame on me.

Tonight’s piece was absolutely unexpected. I haven’t included a link to the text in the title because it’s actually a song! To be more specific, it’s a Canadian Christmas hymn composed by a Jesuit missionary living among the Hurons. According to Wikipedia (Yes, I’m quoting Wikipedia stop judging me), the song’s original title is “Jesous Anhatonhia” which means “Jesus, He is Born” and it’s based on a French folk song.

The song has imagery that makes sense in the context of a tribe. Like having hunters instead of shepherds and talking about chiefs who bring pelts instead of magi who bring gold and incense. It sounds primal, in lyric and melody. And I absolutely love it. It definitely sounds darker than the usual Christmas songs, more sombre, but that’s part of what makes it so entrancing.  I’m sure it’s a well-known song, mostly because everything I read mentions it is, but I’d never heard it before. It’s beautiful, that’s all there is to it.

The version I’m including here for you guys is performed by Heather Dale and sung in Huron, French, and English in that order. Enjoy!

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