Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Huron Carol / Iesus Ahatonnia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"The "Huron Carol" (or "'Twas in the Moon of Wintertime") is a Canadian Christmas hymn (Canada's oldest Christmas song), written in 1643 by Jean de Brébeuf, a Jesuit missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Canada. Brébeuf wrote the lyrics in the native language of the Huron/Wendat people; the song's original Huron title is "Jesous Ahatonhia" ("Jesus, he is born"). The song's melody is a traditional French folk song, "Une Jeune Pucelle" ("A Young Maid"). The well known English lyrics were written in 1926 by Jesse Edgar Middleton.
The English version of the hymn uses imagery familiar in the early 20th century, in place of the traditional Nativity story. This version diverts from Brebeuf's original song and Huron religious concepts. In the English version, Jesus is born in a "lodge of broken bark", and wrapped in a "robe of rabbit skin". He is surrounded by hunters instead of shepherds, and the Magi are portrayed as "chiefs from afar" that bring him "fox and beaver pelts" instead of the more familiar gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The hymn also uses a traditional Algonquian name, Gitchi Manitou, for God. The original lyrics are now sometimes modified to use imagery accessible to Christians who are not familiar with Native-Canadian cultures.
The song remains a common Christmas hymn in Canadian churches of many Christian denominations. Canadian singer Bruce Cockburn has also recorded a rendition of the song. It is also sung by Canadian musician Tom Jackson during his annual Huron Carole show.
In the United States, the song was included as "Jesous Ahatonia" on Burl Ives's 1952 album Christmas Day in the Morning and was later released as a Burl Ives single under the title "Indian Christmas Carol."

Na kesikewiku'sitek jipji'jk* majita'titek
It was in the moon of the wintertime when all the birds had fled
Kji-Niskam petkimasnika ansale'wilitka
That mighty Gitchi Manitou sent angels
Kloqoejuitpa'q, Netuklijik nutua'tiji.
On a starlit night hunters heard
Se'sus eleke'wit, Se'sus pekisink, ewlite'lmin
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, In-ex-cel-sis-gloria

Ula nqanikuomk etli we'ju'ss mijua'ji'j
Within the lodge of bark the tender Babe was found
Tel-klu'sit euli tetpoqa'tasit apli'kmujuey
A ragged robe of rabbit skin enwrapped His beauty round
L'nu'k netuklijik nutua'tiji ansale'wiliji.
But as the hunter braves drew near the angel's song rang loud and high
Se'sus eleke'wit, Se'sus pekisink, eulite'lmin
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, In-ex-cel-sis-gloria

O' mijua'ji'jk nipuktukewe'k, O' Niskam wunijink
O children of the forrest free, O God's children
Maqmikek aq Wa'so'q tley ula mijua'ji'j
The Holy Child of Heaven and Earth
Pekisink kiskuk wjit kilow, pekisitoq wantaqo'ti.
Has come today for you has brought peace
Se'sus eleke'wit, Se'sus pekisink, eulite'lmin
Jesus the King is born, Jesus has come, In-ex-cel-sis-gloria

*The Mi'kmaw word "sisipk" is preferred by many to "jipji'jk" for "birds".

Translated by Mildred Milliea,
edited by Eskasoni Elder's Committee,
and sung by the Eskasoni Trio.
copyright © 2001

Add9 »The Huron Carol«
(in English)