The origins of "Silent Night“

The old farmhouse in Zillertal belonging to the Strasser Family – the "Strasser Häusl“ – with its altar and gloomy smokehouse tells much of the austere lifestyle of the Zillertal farmers of yesteryear. As well as the story behind the world's most famous Christmas carol - "Silent Night, Holy Night".
The origins of "Silent Night“

©Gerhard Berger

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The World's Most Famous Christmas Carol.

"Very few people know that "Silent Night - Holy Night" actually consists of not three, but six verses“, explains Rosi Kraft during her tour through the "Strasser Häusl" in Laimach. "What is also new to most visitors is the fact that the most famous of all Christmas carols was taken from Zillertal into the big, wide world, and only then became famous“.

 

Rosi's eyes light up and her voice is laced with pride as she tells the story of the Strasser children, who lived here in this farmhouse some 200 years ago with its smoke-blackened beams, wide balcony and tiny, shuttered windows.

Entstehungsgeschichte des weltberühmten Weihnachtsliedes
©Gerhard Berger
Entstehungsgeschichte des weltberühmten Weihnachtsliedes
©Gerhard Berger
Entstehungsgeschichte des weltberühmten Weihnachtsliedes
©Gerhard Berger

The history of Silent Night

"Their father, Lorenz Strasser, was a farmer, shopkeeper and glove trader. Together with his six children, he journeyed from Advent to Candlemas to Leipzig and Berlin to sell his coveted gloves. His children sang traditional folk songs from their homeland to draw attention to the market stall, which found great popularity", says Rosi.


One song was widely admired in northern Germany – „Silent Night, Holy Night“. "A particularly well-received performance by the "Larks from Zillertal" on 15th December 1832 in Hotel de Bologne in Leipzig led to a tour of Germany that included a performance in front of the Prussian King Wilhelm IV", continues Rosi. "And so the glove traders from Zillertal became ambassadors of the world's most popular Christmas carol“.

 

A JOURNEY BACK IN TIME TO RURAL LIFE IN ZILLERTAL

In addition to pictures of the Strasser Family, original sheet music that Rosi unearthed during her own research activities in Leipzig and gloves from that era, there are many more things to discover in the Strasser Häusl. Rosi has put her passion for collecting to good use over the past 20 years and has amassed a collection of original artefacts, which are at least as old as the history of the house and offer an impressive display of ancient rural culture in the Zillertal Valley.

 

Whether agricultural implements with long-forgotten names, local costumes, or the history of these Zillertal folk who left an indelible mark in far-flung corners of the globe, Strasser Häusl is steeped in history that is brought to life, thanks to the dedicated efforts of Rosi, who also likes to spoil visitors with coffee and homemade cake.

 

ABOUT ROSI:

Rosi Kraft took over the heritage listed Strasser Häusl ten years ago, in order to renovate it and turn it into a small museum. She is devoted to tracing the historical vestiges these people from the Zillertal Valley left around the world. 
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