The anticipation for the Christmas number one is a big tradition in the UK and considered a career-defining achievement for the artists that make it. The majority of popular Christmas songs that appear outside of English-speaking countries are not pop originals, but are traditional carols or folk songs. However, there a few non-English Christmas songs that have gained popularity in their countries.
Dear Santa (South Korea)
Korean pop (mostly known as K-pop) is a phenomenon that has now spanned around the world. K-pop is well known for its bright and quirky music videos, and their Christmas tracks are no different with all the festive cheer you could possibly imagine crammed into one video. Girls’ Generation have recorded a few Christmas hits in recent years but their first one in 2015,‘Dear Santa’, is still popular today. They even recorded an English version if you want to know what the lyrics translate to.
Petit Papa Noel (France)
In France, there’s one particular song that dominates their Christmas playlists. ‘Petit Papa Noel’ was rediscovered and recorded by Tino Rossi in 1946 and since then it has been covered by many different artists, including by the Smurfs! It’s also the best-selling single of all time in France, selling over 5 million times.
Een heel gelukkig Kerstfeest (Netherlands)
Christmas pop music has never been a big seller in the Netherlands, but in 1975 the father of Dutch rock and roll changed this. Peter Koelewijn wrote ‘Een heel gelukkig Kerstfeest’ (A Very Happy Christmas) in 1975 and was so successful with this hit that he was forced to write a whole Christmas album in a matter of days!
Non-English songs can also be popular in English-speaking countries, and one of the most well-known Christmas songs in the US & UK is ‘Feliz Navidad’. Part of the reason it’s so popular is because it’s partially sung in English, the verses being in English and the chorus in Spanish.
Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit(Philippines)
This Filipino favourite is a Christmas song that is upbeat and great for dancing during the festive season! “Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit” translates to “Christmas has arrived” and the song highlights what is important around Christmas time.
All I want for Christmas is you (USA)
With over 600 million views on Youtube, “All I want for Christmas is you” by Mariah Carey is without a doubt one of the most popular songs in the US. The song is both cheesy and cheery, what more could you want from a Christmas song!
Do they know it’s Christmas?(UK)
“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” is a song written in 1984 by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in reaction to television reports of the 1983–1985 famine in Ethiopia. It was first recorded in a single day on 25 November 1984 by Band Aid, a supergroup put together by Geldof and Ure consisting mainly of the biggest British and Irish musical acts at the time. Year on year this song reappears in the UK charts and is definitely a Christmas classic.
These songs are essential for your multilingual Christmas playlist and they can help you with your language learning too! Language experts say that a great way to learn a new language is by listening to the music of that country.