Huron Carol: Singer Not Listed

Written around 1642 by French missionary Jean de Brébeuf, the “Huron Carol” is well-known in Canada but not so much outside of it. Originally known as “Jesous Ahatonhia” (“Jesus, He Is Born”), the song was written in Wendat and set to traditional French folk music as part of Brébeuf’s attempts to convert Aboriginals. That makes it Canada’s first Christmas song, as well as one of the earliest songs written on the continent by colonists.

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3 Comments on “Huron Carol: Singer Not Listed”

  1. J Says:

    I remember hearing this in the late 70s by Canadian singer Shari Ulrich, on a Canadian radio Xmas album
    Apparently a missionary transcribed a Huron version of this chistmas song; the English language version was popular years ago in parts of Canada. Ulrich is still performing, I think.

    • katry Says:

      The song has a softer sound in English. The words are beautiful. I am amazed that a French missionary could write in Huron.

  2. J Says:

    The missionaries were spiritual colonizers. They were charged to “Christianity” the “ heathens”. Spiritual work, or cultural? But the missionaries learned the Huron language, ‘taught’ Christianity in that exchange, and in the course of cultural I zing, used the tradition of carols as a learning tool. After all, the Hurans’ song was not Christian, but was adapted to serve that purpose.
    Most songs/ singing styles that cross cultural boundaries have similar patterns of use, no?

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