Explore Spanish Language Christmas Carols – VILLANCICOS de NAVIDAD

Would you like to explore the world of Spanish language Christmas carols?  We have a special guest post from a wonderful educator and blogger named Barbara Mascareno-Shaw.  You can more about her in the short bio under the post – and visit her wonderful website, too!

Guest Post By Barbara Mascareno-Shaw

As the season of Christmas approaches, many will encounter Christmas carols = villancicos de Navidad. These singers = cantantes will demonstrate the traditional form of celebrating that the season is approaching. Carols originated during the XV (15th) and XVII (17th) centuries. These villancicos were a poetic form usually found in Spain, Portugal, and Spanish speaking countries. Later, the villancicos were found in church songs and lyrics, which many were associated with the celebration of Navidad.  These types of musical composition have lyrical rhyming and usually tell a story or honor a specific figure. Also, they were sung by people from the village or town to spread the word that the season of Navidad was approaching. Nowadays, we encounter villancicos in popular Navidad songs like “Come Little Shepherds/Venid, pastorcitos”, “Andean Carol/Villancico andino”, “Tonight is Christmas Night/Esta Noche es Nochebuena”, “Joy to the World/Felicidad al Mundo”, “O Holy Night/Noche Sagrada”, “Jingle Bells/Cascabel”, and many more. Let’s take a look at some examples of villancicos de Navidad:

“Cascabel” (Jingle Bells)

“Cascabel, cascabel, suena el _cascabel_

Este día en _trineo__, vamos a pasear.

Navidad, Navidad, hoy es Navidad

Es un día de alegría y felicidad.”

Can you fill in the blanks to the original song in English? You might be surprised that there are some differences to the English version. But you can still tune the lyrics to the English “Jingle Bells” song. Also, notice the simple rhyming -dad, and in the syllables -ear. This villancico can be found in the audio book “Feliz Navidad/Teach Me series” by Anna Maria Mahoney. This is an excellent source of Hispanic heritage of traditional songs, recipes, and brief history. Another wonderful song by Mahoney is
“Noche de Paz” (Silent Night).

“Noche de paz, noche de amor,

Todo duerme en _rededor_.

Todos sueñan en la oscuridad

Bella anunciando al _Niño_ Jesús.

Brilla la _estrella_ de paz,

Brilla la estrella de _paz__.”

Can you find the missing words that rhyme in this villancico? Just remember that most of these lyrics were originated a long time and keep the original wording.

In “Villancico andino/Andean Carol”, you’ll find a wonderful story about the Nativity to Doña María. Let’s take a look:

“Señora Doña María

yo vengo desde muy lejos

y a su niñito le traigo

un parcito de conejos.

Señora Doña María

yo vengo de las llanuras

y a su niñito le traigo

una frutita _madura_.

Señora Doña María

de muy lejos vengo aquí

y a su niñito le traigo

un gallo quiquiriquí.

Señora Doña María

deje acercarme un poquito

y sin despertar al nino

besarle los _piececitos_.

Señora Doña María

cogollito de alhelí

encárguele a su _niñito_

que no se olvide de mí.”

Can you figure out the rhyming in this villancico? Hint: rhyming words that end in -í. You can find more wonderful Christmas villancicos and more nursery rhymes in “Mama Goose: A Latino Nursery Treasury” by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy. You can find these delightful books at your local library, bookstore, or Amazon.

For your entertainment and amusement, you can visit this fun video of the Spanish version of ‘Jingle Bells’ at Mother Goose Club titled ‘Navidad, Navidad’ on YouTube. Warning: this cute catchy song may get stuck in your head all day, fa la la …

Barbara has a dual degree in Biochemistry and Chemistry and has taught K-12 children under the No-Child-Left-Behind program. The students in this program are struggling in school and are about to repeat a grade unless there’s parent/teacher intervention. Barbara is a native Spanish speaker from Argentina that’s lived in the United States most of her life. She believes in promoting reading skills at any age level whether bilingual or not. She encourages her daughter, Savanna, to learn Spanish through books, songs, projects, and of course Science lessons. Barbara currently lives in Las Vegas, NV with her wonderful husband and daughter Savanna. She also is a Science, Math, and Spanish tutor. You can learn more about her by visiting her blog at http://www.spanish4kiddos.com

3 thoughts on “Explore Spanish Language Christmas Carols – VILLANCICOS de NAVIDAD

  1. Thank you Daria for inviting me over to be a guest blogger on your amazing music blog. It’s so great that you’re bringing so much joy to so many kiddos out there with your music. I love your music videos. Hope to keep in touch more often 🙂
    Happy Holidays; Felices Fiestas !!!

  2. Thank you Daria, my husband plays the conga drums, among other instruments, he is really good at it. Has never taken music lessons, all by ear. I just emailed him your page, I know he’ll love it!!
    Dulce H.

  3. My community chorus is planning a Christmas programs. The director likes to give a little history of each song. Did you know, Silent Night was written for guitar music because the church organ was broken?
    Do you have any interesting Christmas songs you could share with me? I do speak Spanish and would like to do a solo.
    Thank you

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