1. Religion & Spirituality

'O Holy Night' Christmas Song


O Holy Night
Amy Neunsinger / Riser / Getty Images


Adolphe Charles Adams


Placide Cappeau

Sample Lyrics:

"Fall on your knees! O, hear the angel voices!/O night divine, the night when Christ was born/O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!/O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!"

Angel Connection:

'O Holy Night' urges readers to imagine the wonderful sound of angels' voices singing praises to God during the first Christmas.

Fun Fact:

'O Holy Night' was the first piece of music ever to be broadcast on the radio while being played live. Canadian inventor Reginald Fessenden, who helped start AM radio, played it live on his violin on a Christmas Eve broadcast in 1906, after he broadcast a phonograph recording of another song called 'Ombra Mai Fu' from the opera Serse by George Handel.


When Frenchman Placide Cappeau's parish priest asked him to write a Christmas poem, he wrote the words to 'O Holy Night' in 1847 and soon realized that they should be set to music. Since Cappeau wasn't a musician (he worked as wine seller), he recruited his friend Adolphe Charles Adams to compose the music to the song. Adams was a well-known composer who was known for his music for the ballet Giselle.

'O Holy Night' was first performed during a church Christmas Eve worship service in 1847, in Roquemaure, France.

John Sullivan Dwight, editor of Dwight's Journal of Music, translated 'O Holy Night' from French to English and published it in his journal in the 1800s.

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