History of a Christmas Carol Classic - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

History of a Christmas Carol Classic

Updated: Nov 12, 2012 03:33 PM CST

Written almost 200 years ago, Silent Night is a Christmas Classic. The German American Heritage Center in Davenport has an exhibit which details the history of what many consider to be one of the most famous songs ever written.

Silent Night was originally written as a poem in Austria in 1816. Father Joseph Mohr, a Catholic priest, wrote the words. Two years later, composer Franz Gruber put the poem to music.

The song was originally supposed to be played on a church organ on Christmas Eve, 1818. However, legend has it that church mice ate away at the chords of the organ, so the song was played with a guitar. Two male and a choir sang the song at a Christmas Eve Mass.

The exhibit tells the story in detail, showing images of the Saint Nicholas Church in Austria where the song was originally played. That church was destroyed by a flood in the early 1900's. It has been replaced with the Silent Night Memorial Chapel where hundreds gather each year to worship and sing the song.

Silent Night has been translated into over 300 languages and is used to celebrate Christmas all over the world.

The exhibit also has a display of costumes from several different cultures, giving visitors a glimpse at how Christmas is celebrated in different parts of the world. It will be open to the public through January 6th.