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Appendix H

Christmas Carols in the Polish Tradition

Cecily Kowalewska Helgesen from Treasured Polish Songs.

Source: Polish World

Polish Christmas carols are almost all anonymous, having been composed by the people. Their origins date from the fourteen century, many from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. W Zlobie Lezy, credited with originating in the fourteenth century, is considered the first Polonaise.

The Polish carol has an essentially folk song character, which makes it specifically national. The melodies are characteristically Polish - gay, tender, even humorous - typical of the Polish peasant or mountaineer. There is a native unconscious poetry about all of them. The Infant Jesus, poor and homeless, born in a stable surrounded by the familiar domestic animals, appeals to the heart and the imagination of all peoples.

Polish Christmas carols may be divided into three kinds - religious, legendary, and imaginative. The religious, among the most beautiful and profound in feeling of all Polish hymns, owe their origin to monks in cloisters. The legendary, based on the books of the Apocrypha, contain many legends and details for which strict historical truth cannot be assumed. Hence the Church did not accept them, but they appealed to the people who loved to sing of the many wonders, the adoring shepherds and the speaking animals. The third, or imaginative, owe their origin to people of humble birth, who in relating the story of the Nativity used familiar surroundings taken from their own homes. Thus Bethlehem became a Polish village and Jesus was born in Poland. These carols often contain merry dance rhythms like the Krakowiak and the Mazurka and are called "Shepherd's Carols".

Quickly On To Bethlehem
(Przybiezeli do Betlejem)

Giving their respects in all humility,
To the Infant Jesus from hearts lovingly,
Glory to God on Highest
Glory to God on Highest
And on earth, peace to men.

Oddawali swe uklony w pokorze,
Tobie z serca ochotnego, o Boze!
Chwala na wysokosci,
Chwala na wysokosci,
A pokoj na ziemi.

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Collections of Christmas Carols & Poetry
Compiled and Edited by
Douglas D. Anderson

Victorian Visions
A Christmas Poetry Collection

Divinely Inspired
A Christmas Poetry Collection

The Bridegroom Cometh
Poetry For The Advent

Other books by Doug Anderson

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How Still The Night

The Christmas Poems of Father Andrew, S.D.C.

 Father and Daughter

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Now, Now The Mirth Comes

Christmas Poetry by Robert Herrick

What Sudden Blaze Of Song

The Christmas Poems of Rev. John Keble

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The Christmastide Poems of Christina Georgina Rossetti

All My Heart This Night Rejoices

The Christmas Poems of Catherine Winkworth

A Victorian Carol Book

Favorites from the 19th Century —
Still favorites today!

Other Books by Doug Anderson

A Psalter – A Book of the Psalms Arranged by Luther's Categories

Betbüchlein: A Personal Prayer Book, a recreation of Luther's 1529 prayer book

Daily Prayer

Luther's Passional

Luther's Writings on Prayer: A Selection

Devotions for the Advent – 2009
A new edition for 2010 is being prepared.

The Lenten Sermons of Martin Luther, Second Edition

Descriptions of all these volumes can be seen at
Books by Doug Anderson


Christmas is a wonderful, cheerful holiday.  Whether we spend it by a real tree or some Balsam Hill artificial Christmas trees, at the end of the day what matters is that we enjoy our time together with our loved ones. 


The Hymns and Carols of Christmas
Douglas D. Anderson

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