Friday, December 24, 2010
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
This hymn is one of my favorite carols, and is actually Native American in origin. The official title is, "Twas in the Moon of Wintertime," though it is often referred to as simply the Huron carol.
The carol was written by a Jesuit missionary among the Hurons in the mid-1600s. In a rare display of missionary deference to Native peoples, the priest, Jean de Brébeuf, wrote the hymn in the Huron language and also incorporated many motifs from Native American culture in the lyrics like Jesus being born in a "lodge of broken bark" and wearing "a belt of rabbit fur" with hunters instead of shepherds and chiefs from afar instead of Magi. The original hymn text even uses a traditional Algonquian name, Gitchi Manitou, for God, though that is seldom translated into English because most Americans would not understand the allusion to Canadian Native American cultures.
The original would likely have sounded more like this:
Thus in Huron: "Jesous Ahatonhia!"
Jesus, he is born!