A very important element of Christmas
tradition is the Christmas carol. Here you will find out about the origins of
Spanish Christmas carols, some of their characteristics, and of course, the
words to several Christmas carols so that you can practice Spanish while singing
this holiday season.
do not appear in written form until the 16th century, although
many are much older. The name for Christmas carols in Spanish
"villancicos" is derived from "villanus" which
means neighbor in a villa or village; Spanish dance from the 16th
and 17th century, called such because it imitates rustic
traditions. Villancicos, or Christmas carols, were very popular
among noblemen and
alike in the Middle Ages and the Spanish Golden Age.
carols are the simplest manifestation of popular Castilian lyric.
They consist of 2 parts:
· Refrain: two, three or four lines beginning the song which repeat
at the end of each verse.
· Verse: groups of lines which together develop the theme of the
Christmas songs in Spain contain themes related to the Christmas
season, but influenced by popular culture, they are very festive
and are usually sung with musical
zambomba -> drum-like folk instrument
almirez -> metallic mortar traditionally used in popular
Andalusian folk music. Without actually being a musical
instrument, it is an object that is hit rhythmically and is used
to accompany a song in improvised situations
most frequent themes are: the birth of baby Jesus, the Virgin Mary
performing normal activities of a mother, the adoration of the Three
Kings, the visit of the shepherds to the manger, the pure happiness
of all living things for the birth of the Son of God, the joy of
Christmas. . .
Christmas songs are very much related to the so-called "aguinaldo"
which is a gift of money or in kind, during the holiday season.
The "aguinaldo" of nuts or almonds common in medieval
time has transformed into what's know today in Spain as the "paga
extra" or extra amount of money given to employees at
public and private employees (garbage collectors, mail delivery
employees, security guards and other servants) were the first to
start receiving a small show of gratitude in the form of a gift or
money, as a way to wish a Merry Christmas to those that served one
in some form.
system of gathering the "aguinaldo" has been, and still
exists in certain places, is that groups of people or children go
from house to house and through the streets wishing Merry
Christmas to neighbors and singing Christmas carols in exchange
for coins or Christmas sweets.
The words to
some Spanish Christmas songs
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