Silent Night! Holy Night!
2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the world’s most popular Christmas song “Silent Night! Holy Night!”. On 24 December 1818, Joseph Mohr and Franz Xaver Gruber sang this song for the first time in the St Nikola Church in Oberndorf near Salzburg. 200 years later the song is sung by about two billion people in over 300 languages all over the world.
The poem was written by the young curate Joseph Mohr and two years later, Franz Xaver Gruber, a teacher and organist from Upper Austria, composed the music. The song reached Tirol only a few years later through the organ builder Carl Mauracher of the Zillertal, where in the early 1830s the Tirolean national singers started performing. Highly musical farmer families travelled through Europe as merchants and performed in front of an audience. Especially the Strasser siblings and the Rainer singers from the Zillertal made the song internationally famous in Europe, America and Russia. The song was spread further by missionaries.
Today, the song “Silent Night! Holy Night!” is UNESCO world cultural heritage and world peace song, international cultural heritage and musical heritage. The 200th anniversary is celebrated with numerous events and special exhibitions in the 13 Silent Night places in the SalzburgerLand, in Tirol and in Upper Austria. The Achensee region is one of the places where visitors can trace the history of “Silent Night! Holy Night”.
Four events in the Achensee region are dedicated to the Silent Night! Holy Night! anniversary year.