I love traditional English Christmas music, but this uniquely Canadian carol has always been a favorite of mine, as much for the story behind it as for the music.
The Huron Carol was written in 1643 by Father Jean Brebeuf, a Jesuit missionary priest to the Huron nation in Quebec. Written in the Huron language, the song was Brebeuf's way of conveying the meaning of Christmas to his charges.
By all accounts Brebeuf was a capable, well-intentioned and highly charismatic leader, but the success of his mission among the Huron became a double-edged sword. A split occurred between those who wished to hold on to their own traditions and those who embraced European ways. Weakened by division and by European disease, the Huron were overrun and destroyed by the Iroquois, and Father Brebeuf became one of the first Canadian martyrs.
Blame it on the writer in me, but to my mind the sad story behind the Carol adds to its poignancy. I've heard it performed in French, English and the original Huron. I enjoy playing it myself. The English lyrics are as poetic as the melody is haunting. Enjoy!
I'm a teacher, an amateur musician and, for over thirty years, a writer. I fell in love with words at a very early age, and the affair has been life-long.
Glimpses of the past spark my imagination. There's an archaeologist buried in me somewhere. I'm currently working on a series following the McShannon family as they put down roots and find love in the old world and the new, against the background of the American Civil War. Along with this series, I'm writing a story set at the time of the Halifax Explosion in 1917. I'm really enjoying delving into the history in my own backyard.
I write for children as well as adults. When I'm not writing I garden, play guitar and spend time with my DH, our cat Emily, and our dogs Chance and Echo, the most spoiled Duck Tolling Retrievers on the planet. I live in Nova Scotia, in my opinion the most beautiful place in the world.