Feliz Navidad… and a Merry Christmas, Puerto Rican Style!

Puerto rico bongosGenerations of music fans have learned to say Merry Christmas in Spanish from this popular holiday song.  Written by Jose Feliciano, a singer, songwriter and virtuoso guitarist from Puerto Rico, this happy little song is perfect for teaching easy phrases in Spanish or for just adding to your family’s soundtrack of Christmas fun.

The lyrics are simple.  The first verse is in Spanish:

Feliz Navidad, Feliz Navidad,
Feliz Navidad, Prospero año y felicidad . . .
Feliz Navidad, Feliz Navidad,
Feliz Navidad, Prospero año y felicidad . . .

And the second verse is in English:

I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas
I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas
I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas
From the bottom of my heart

And, although “Feliz Navidad” is loved all around the world, you can use the song to learn more about music and holiday traditions from other lands, such as Puerto Rico.

guiro iconDid you know that there are musical groups that go door to door serenading during six weeks of Christmas festivities in Puerto Rico?  Called “parrandas”, “asaltos” or “trullas”, these music groups go from home to home and play bright, upbeat songs, with the same instruments you hear in the version of Feliz Navidad below – guitars, bongo drums and a percussion instrument called a guiro.

Music is important all aspects of the extended holiday celebration in Puerto Rico and the Christmas tree is decorated to symbolize the musical groups as well as the Magi or Three Kings.  For many, the Christmas season begins after Thanksgiving and ends in early January.  During that time you may often get a visit from a band of musicians who will celebrate the season with you and stop to eat and drink at your house as they travel on their way.

Want to learn more about Christmas in Puerto Rico?  Check out the great links below.  Or have fun with your own version of the holiday, wherever you are.  Color a festive guitar.  Make your own guiro!

Or wish someone you love a “Feliz Navidad!”

Links And Activities

Puerto Rican Christmas Traditions from El Boricua

http://www.elboricua.com/traditions.html

Folklore and Christmas Traditions From “Welcome To Puerto Rico”

http://www.topuertorico.org/culture/folklore.shtml

guitar coloring pageGuitar Coloring Page

http://www.dariamusic.com/docs/Guitar%20Coloring%20Page.pdf

Hear a Guiro

http://www.dariamusic.com/guiro.php

Color A Guiro Online

http://www.dariamusic.com/color_Guiro.php

Make Your Own Guiro from Recycled Materials

http://www.dariamusic.com/make_Guiro.php

Feliz Navidad Lyric Sheet Print Out

http://www.dariamusic.com/feliznavidad.php

DARIA’s Feliz Navidad on I tunes

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/celebrate-season-multicultural/id344193347

DARIA’s Feliz Navidad Amazon mp3

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00302IO26/ref=dm_dp_trk2

Jingle Bells – A Song Heard Around The World

Although it was written in the United States, the song  Jingle Bells can be heard today in many countries around the world. Since the song is most often sung at Christmastime, you might be surprised to know that Jingle Bells was actually composed for Thanksgiving Day. In fact, if you listen to the lyrics carefully, you can see there are lots of references to fun and snow and celebration – but none to Christmas. Once you hear the story behind the song you’ll understand why.

The song was written by an American minister named James Lord Pierpont in 1850 and was originally titled “One Horse Open Sleigh”. Pierpont had written the song for a Thanksgiving service, however it became such a favorite that people insisted he perform it again at Christmas. From that time forward, the song grew in popularity and was most commonly associated with Christmas.

The song was written in the Simpson Tavern in Medford, Massachusetts. The original lyrics published in 1857 are a bit different then the ones heard most popularly today. They talk more about sled races and sleigh riding as it occurred in that area – a popular pastime especially for young people who were courting. No one knows for sure who replaced the original words with the new ones, but you can check out both sets of lyrics below. You can also listen to a version with Japanese lyrics and one with Russian lyrics below showing how this song has gained popularity around the world as a holiday favorite.

If you’d like to check out my new music video – it shares Jingle Bells along with holiday wishes in 18 different languages – hope you enjoy as you jingle all the way!

Daria’s Rockin’ Jingle Bells
Purchase On Amazon
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DARIA’s cd of songs for Merry Multicultural Mirth
Purchase On Amazon
Purchase On iTunes

Videos
Jingle Bells in Japanese

Jingle Bells in Russian

Jingle Bells in Serbian http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJcUIMCSciQ

Modern Lyrics
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
O’er the fields we go
Laughing all the way

Bells on bob tails ring
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to ride and sing
A sleighing song tonight

A day or two ago
I thought I’d take a ride
And soon Miss Fanny Bright
Was seated by my side

The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
We got into a drifted bank
And then we got upsot


Original Lyrics – Copyrighted by James Pierpont in 1957
Dashing through the snow
In a one-horse open sleigh
O’er the hills we go
Laughing all the way.

Bells on bobtail ring
Making spirits bright
Oh what sport to ride and sing
A sleighing song tonight.

|: chorus :|

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way!
O what joy it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh.

A day or two ago
I thought I’d take a ride
And soon Miss Fannie Bright
Was seated by my side

The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
He got into a drifted bank
And we – we got upsot

|: chorus :|

A day or two ago
The story I must tell
I went out on the snow
And on my back I fell

A gent was riding by
In a one-horse open sleigh
He laughed as there I sprawling lie
But quickly drove away

|: chorus :|

Now the ground is white
Go it while you’re young
Take the girls tonight
And sing this sleighing song

Just get a bobtailed bay
Two forty is his speed
Hitch him to an open sleigh
And crack! You’ll take the lead.

|: chorus :|