Hear Those Sleigh Bells Ring
During the holidays, people have many traditions that continue from one generation to the next. One of those great traditions is to sing holiday songs, often called “Christmas carols.” In Spanish, these are known as villancicos, or canciones de Navidad españolas.
Families and friends can gather around the Christmas tree to sing the songs or go caroling from house to house to spread holiday cheer to others. In most Spanish-speaking countries, there are some traditional Spanish villancicosthat most people learn to sing from the time they are children. Here is a top ten list of some of the most widely listened to and loved songs around the Spanish-speaking world:
- “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano.
Probably the most famous villancico of all, “Feliz Navidad” is sung all over the world. It blends English and Spanish words and because of its catchy tune and simplicity, anyone listening can easily understand the translation within the lyrics.
- “Mi Burrito Sabanero,” also known as “Mi Burrito de Belén.”
The song is written from the point of view of a donkey’s rider, who is urging him on to get to Bethlehem as fast as possible to see the newborn king Jesus. One of the most famous versions of the song was recorded by a children’s group called La Rondallita.
- “Cante, ríe, bebe” by Los Toribianitos.
This traditional song from Spain is mostly sung on Christmas Eve, encouraging people to “sing, laugh, drink.”
- “La marimorena” by various artists.
- “Noche de paz” by various artists.
This is the Spanish version of “Silent Night.”
- “El niño Dios” by Oscar Chá
- “Alegre vengo” by various artists.
- “Blanca Navidad” by various artists.
This song is set to Irving Berlin’s famous “White Christmas” tune.
- “Campanas de Belén” or “Bells of Bethlehem.”
This song celebrates the birth of the newborn king in Bethlehem.
- “Ya vienen los Reyes.”
In many Spanish-speaking countries, el día de los reyes magos is celebrated on January 6, when children believe the Three Wise Men have come to bring them gifts. The lyrics to this song let listeners know that the Three Wise Men are on their way.
Some songs have been remixed or recorded by different artists throughout the years. Other songs were originally written and recorded in English but have been translated and sung in Spanish. No matter who sings the songs, everyone looks forward to singing along each Christmas.
As enthusiasts of the Spanish language and Hispanic Culture, this month we will be exploring the Spanish-speaking world: its people, its cities, its regions, and its cultures. Join us as we explore with Español Santillana.
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