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In 1816, Joseph Mohr, an assistant priest in Mariapfarr in the Lungau region in Austria, wrote a poem called “Silent Night”. The poem was about the night when angels announced the birth of the long-awaited Messiah to shepherds on a hillside.

Two years later, when he was walking home from a Christmas presentation and saw the snow-covered village from a hilltop, he thought that the poem might make a good carol for his congregation. So he spoke with the church organist, Franz Xaver Gruber who, in the schoolhouse of Arnsdorf, on Christmas Eve composed a melody to fit the text. Since the organ at the church wasn't working and would not be repaired, the melody was sung by both of them accompanied with a guitar.

The song spread fast through Europe, and 20 years later made its way to the United States sung in German. In 1863 it was translated into English. Today the words of "Silent Night" are sung in more than 300 different languages around the world.
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