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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
Giving their respects in all humility,
Oddawali swe uklony w pokorze,
Collections of Christmas Carols & Poetry
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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
Luther's Writings on Prayer: A Selection
Devotions for the Advent – 2009
The Lenten Sermons of Martin Luther, Second Edition
Descriptions of all these volumes can be seen at
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.
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