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. 

Stille Nacht - Achenseehof Kapelle - von Ludwig Rainer erbaute Kapelle ©Tirol Werbung, Grössinger Michael

©Tirol Werbung, Grössinger Michael

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.

  • Guided Tour – Tracing the history of Ludwig Rainer

    The tour will tell the story backwards, starting at the local cemetery in Achenkirch. After a visit to Ludwig Rainer’s gravesite, the tour continues to the Heimatmuseum Sixenhof in Achenkirch. A special exhibition will present the life of family Rainer and their connection the world’s most famous Christmas song.

    In addition to exploring the special exhibition dedicated to Ludwig Rainer, guests can visit the traditional “Tiroler Bergweihnacht” (Tirolean Mountain Christmas) in the centuries-old barn of the Sixenhof. The story of Ludwig Rainer and Lake Achensee ends or rather begins at our next station at Achenseehof. The Achenseehof Chapel, which Ludwig Rainer had built, offers the perfect ambiance to once again soak up the eventful, international history of the song “Silent Night! Holy Night”.

    Guided tours are available on Sundays and Saturdays from 24th November to 23rd December 2018. On request, tours are also available on weekdays.
    Tours take approx. 100 minutes and start at 10.00 a.m. | 1.00 p.m. | 3.00 p.m.

    Advance reservation at the Tourist Board Achensee is required by phone number +43(59)5300-0 or by email at info@achensee.com.

    Admission:

    • Groups of 4 – 19 people: EUR 60 per group
    • Groups of 20 – 40 people: EUR 120 per group
    • Surcharge for Tirolean Mountain Christmas per person: EUR 6.50
  • Zsammg’Spiel at the Kirchenwirt

    Local Wirtshaus musical tradition
    “Tirolean style jam session”

    In Ludwig Rainer’s day, inns were the focal point of Tirolean culture and hubs of musical creativity, providing space for spontaneous music making, similar to today’s jam sessions and open mic nights. In the anniversary year of the “Silent Night, Holy Night” song, inns will once again become a big communal stage, featuring the Tirolean regional music schools.
    Host will be Stefan Neussl.

    When: 7th December 2018 at 8.00 p.m.
    Where: Kirchenwirt in 6212 Maurach/Eben

  • Pop-up Advent Calendar

    Every day in December up to Christmas Eve, a door of the Advent calendar will be brought to life in selected Tirolean locations. As part of the 200th anniversary of the “Silent Night! Holy Night!” song this event will take place at the Mountain Advent at the Fischergut on 9th December at 4.00 p.m. Special features of the “Silent Night” will be unveiled – how the song reached us 200 (or 2000 years) ago, how it is encountered today, and how it will enlighten us in the future. Presented in a pop-up advent calendar, the contents will remain visible for thirty minutes and fade into silence until the next day. The contents will be mainly music and literature pieces and will be presented by personalities from the region and country.

    When: 9th December 2018 at 4.00 p.m.
    Where: during the Mountain Advent at the Fischergut in Pertisau

  • Musical one-act play as part of the Silent Night anniversary

    Two singing duos from the 19th century who want to build on the success of the song “Silent Night! Holy Night”, give a performance that conveys the artistry of Tirolean music culture. Starting from the Silent Night song, which is mainly used as a reference, the variety of Tirolean Christmas and Advent music is celebrated. The piece tells the story of the Silent Night in an accessible, entertaining, humorous and playful way, without actually singing the Silent Night song.

    When: 22nd December at 4.00 p.m.
    Where: during the Mountain Advent at the Fischergut in Pertisau