Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Oíche chiúin

I was born in Ireland and it was compulsory to study the Irish language in school all the way through to leaving at the age of 18. I was never very good at it and now would struggle to have a conversation in Gaelic but can read the written word quite easily. At Christmas we sang all the traditional carols but also learned the Irish version of them. Same tune, different words. 

Funny how living on the far side of the world makes me feel nostalgic for all the traditions of my childhood. This week I found myself Googling the words to Silent night and this is what I found...

Oíche chiúin, oíche Mhic Dé,
Cách 'na suan, dís araon,
Dís is dílse ag faire le spéis,
Naí beag gnaoi-gheal ceanán tais caomh
Críost ina chodladh go séimh,
Críost ina chodladh go séimh.

Oíche chiúin, oíche Mhic Dé,
Aoirí ar dtús chuala an scéal,
"Aililiuia" aingil ag glaoch
Cantain Shuairc i ngar is i gcéin
Críost ár Slánaitheoir féin,
Críost ár Slánaitheoir féin.

Oíche chiúin, oíche Mhic Dé,
Mac Dé bhí, gáire a bhéil,
Tuar dá rá 's dá lán-chur i gcéill,
Ann gur tháinig tráth chinn a tséin,
Críost a theacht ar an saol,
Críost a theacht ar an saol.

Ah, the nostalgia. It made my eyes well up as I tunelessly sang it in the kitchen while preparing dinner. I thought I would share this tender moment with my English born, Welsh and Irish parented and Australian citizened children. 

We were enjoying our Christmas dinner as I said proudly 
"I can sing Silent Night in Irish... Well, if I have the words"

This was the kids response...

Byron responded with
"I can sing Silent night in Latvian... Well, if I have the words"

Out came the iphone to Google the choice of languages that Silent Night has been translated into and thus started the singing competition. The children's tears of laughter flowed as Byron bellowed the hymn out in languages he had never before spoken, including my beloved Irish. It didn't sound quite the same as I remembered from my childhood. 

I think I'll keep my nostalgic moments to myself from now on!

7 comments - click here to leave your comment:

  1. I love your little family!! I "see" you have instilled in them YOUR very sense of humor!!! Got to love that!! Love the picture~ it does speak a thousand words, "no matter the language"!!

  2. I love that picture. How nice to have so much fun with your family. It looks like you all had a wonderful Christmas!

  3. That is so endearing! "Silent Night" always makes me teary-eyed too. We used to sing it (poorly) in German.

  4. I can just imagine the laughter going on at your house and all you wanted to do was be nostalgic, ahhh that's kids for you. I bet you sang it beautifully too. :) xx

  5. My father in law is from Galway and he loves to teach my kids Gaelic. I had to laugh at your photo because it looks just like our Christmas table. We opened our Christmas crackers and immediately everyone was wearing their paper crown!! I loved it!! My mother in law started that tradition and I wanted to carry it on after she passed. Happy New Year to you and your family. God bless!! xoxo

  6. Did Byron sing "Dawel nos"?
    A lovely moment captured at the Christmas table there Gina.

  7. Byron
    Our Nativity Scene has the music to "Silent Night" when you wind it up at the back. We look forward to you coming over and accompanying the music in your many "Silent Night" languages or ..... maybe not!

    And now for a joke:

    "What is a parent's favourite Christmas carol?"

    "Silent Night!!!!!"