Some other items connected with "Silent Night"

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Stamps relating to "Silent Night".

Issued 18 Dec 1948. Details to follow.
This 2Sch slate-green stamp was designed by Otto Zeiller to depict the crib in the memorial chapel at Oberndorf bei Salzburg. It was engraved by Georg Wimmer and recess printed with comb perfs 14½x13½. It was pre-issued on 25th November 1968 and valid from the 29th, both to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the carol "Stille Nacht" and as one of that year’s Christmas issues.
The annual Christmas stamp issue for 1987 was a 5Sch multicoloured value valid from 27th November and pre-issued on the 12th. This portrait stamp was designed by Prof. Adalbert Pilch to depict the author and composer of "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht" placed over a stanza of its music, engraved by Wolfgang Seidel and printed in both recess (violet-black) and photogravure (purple, citron-yellow, rose-carmine, Turkish-blue and greenish-blue); comb perforated 13¾
Christmas 2013 - Stille Nacht, 150th death anniversary of Franz Xaver Gruber. Issued on 29 November 2013 in rolls of 50; design Marion Füllerer; offset-printed by Bundesdruckerei.
Christmas 2016 – "Silent Night: the text". Issued 25 Nov 2016; design by Anita Kern; offset-printed by Cartor Security Printing. On this special anniversary of the poem "Silent Night! Holy Night!" this commemorative stamp shows an excerpt from a manuscript housed in the Salzburg Museum. However, Mohr did not write this in 1818, as was long believed to be the case, but in 1816, which is why the lyrics of this well-known carol are celebrating a special anniversary in 2016.
Christmas 2016 – "Der holde Knabe im lockigen Haar". Issued on 25 Nov 2016; designed by Dieter Kraus; offset-printed by Enschedé. Sold in boxed rolls of 50. The title means "The meek child with the curly hair" but is usually translated into English as "Holy infant so tender and mild". The design is from a Late Gothic painting in Mariapfarr church.
Christmas 2018 – 200 years of "Silent Night", issued 23 November 2018. The Austrian Post Office have written:

This Christmas carol is known throughout the world: on Christmas Eve "Silent night, holy night" rings out around the world in many different languages. 200 years ago it was sung for the first time in the church in Oberndorf in the province of Salzburg.

Two years earlier, in 1816, the assistant priest in Mariapfarr, Joseph Mohr, had written a poem with the name "Silent Night! Holy Night!" On 24th December 1818, now working in the parish of Oberndorf, he showed the poem to the organist and schoolteacher from Arnsdorf, Franz Xaver Gruber, and asked him to compose a melody for it. It was to be an arrangement for two solo voices and choir with a guitar accompaniment. The organist quickly completed his task, and the new Christmas carol was performed that very evening at the Christmas mass by Gruber and Mohr, and was very well received by the people of Oberndorf.

Legend has it that the song was only written because the organ in Oberndorf’s St. Nikola Church was unusable and a song was therefore needed that could be sung without an organ accompaniment.

"Silent Night" was initially performed in the surrounding municipalities. Organ maker Carl Mauracher from the Ziller Valley learnt the song while travelling to Oberndorf and Arnsdorf and brought it back to his home region on his return. From there it was spread further afield by the singers the Rainer family and the Strasser sisters: it was heard for the first time in Leipzig in 1832 and, just a short time later, in 1839 in New York. Initially the song was believed to be an old folk song, and it was only in 1854, through Franz Xaver Gruber’s "Authentic Origins of the Composition", that his and Joseph Mohr’s authorship became known. "Silent Night" has been translated into more than 300 languages and is today sung around the world at Christmas.

Today the Silent Night Chapel, the subject of the illustrated Christmas stamp, stands on the site where the church once stood. The Silent Night District in Oberndorf also houses a museum commemorating the song’s creators, and memorial celebrations and a large Advent market are held every year in Silent Night Square.

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©APS Last updated 28 Dec 2018