Allgemein, überdiesAn englishman in Mannheim: The Second Candle

Lighting the Second Candle in our Advent Wreath


The constant barrage of festive cooking programmes on TV at this time of year would have you believe that the perfect recipe for a festive feast includes Brussels sprouts, chestnuts, goose and roast potatoes. For me however, Christmas is not quite Christmas without a hearty serving of equal voice parts, polyphony, warm clothing and the essential array of Carols for Choirs editions.  The Christmas hymn, or carol, is by far my most favourite of Christmas traditions. Unfortunately this blog is too small for me to detail the twisting and turning evolution of some of our favourite Carols, however I would urge you to have a look.  Many of the carols we hear today date back to as early as the 1400’s and became more common place in the 1500’s. Coming in and out of vogue, they cemented their place in Christmas tradition through the publications of carol books in the 19th century, leading eventually to the hugely popular Carols for Choirs collection that was first published by Oxford University Press in 1961.  Since living in Germany, it is rare I hear my favourite Christmas melodies as I walk the streets of Mannheim, however I thought it time to broaden my horizons and acquire some new favourites.

While you are carefully sipping your Glühwein and trying your best to not drop any of your precariously balanced Kartoffelpuffer in one of the many Chirstmas markets in Mannheim, take a moment to feast too on the German Carols your hear.  Below are 5 examples of beloved german carols.  Perhaps one of them will find a place within your festival traditions for many years to come.



(and one more for luck that you will undoubtedly know…)


D J Farrimond