Knights of the Pain Table

A Camelot for Sufferers of Chronic Pain

The Huron Carol – A Christmas Hymn- Twas in the Moon of Wintertime

The Huron Carol by Heather Dale

“Twas in the moon of wintertime when all the birds had fled
That mighty Gitchi Manitou sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim and wondering hunters heard the hymn,
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.”

In 1643, Jean de Brébeuf, a Jesuit missionary at Sainte-Marie,  in Canada, wrote a hymn called the “Huron Carol”  (or “‘Twas in the Moon of Wintertime”).     Jean wrote the lyrics in the native language of the Huron/Wendat people whom he lived among.    The melody of the song originates with a traditional French folk song,  “Une Jeune Pucelle”  (“A Young Maid”).

In 1926 Jesse Edgar Middleton wrote the English lyrics.    The English version of the hymn uses imagery familiar in the early 20th century, in place of the traditional Nativity story.     The song’s original Huron title is “Jesous Ahatonhia” (“Jesus, he is born”).

Listen to Heather Dale sing this beautiful version which captures a time long ago.

The Huron were an Aboriginal people who called themselves “Wendat”,    which means “people who live on the back of a great turtle.” They believed that the back of this great turtle was an island that supported the whole world. The French called them  “Huron” because their hair looked like the bristled hair of the wild boar. They lived between Lake Simcoe and Lake Huron.    Today the Huron-Wendat nation is one of Québec’s most urbanized aboriginal nations.

The Huron Carol remains a common Christmas hymn that has been sung by singers such as Bruce Cockburn, Tom Jackson, Crash Test Dummies, Burl Ives, The Chieftains and Loreena McKennitt   (Breton Carol). Methinks that Heather Dale’s version seems hauntingly like the time it was written.

In this striking version Heather Dale sings in Wendat  (Huron),  French and English.    Heather Dale is a recording artist with Celtic roots,   whose original music embraces the power of myth and legend.    With a passion for medieval history, Heather sings songs inspired by the Middle Ages. We loveth Heather, as she singeth in our time.

We thanketh Jean de Brébeuf for writing this hymn and the Huron/Wendat for inspriring this creation. And Heather for letting this hymn live through her voice and heart.

In the wintertime of 1643….

Your Scribe and Knight of Camelot
Lady Sharon

Visit Heather Dale’s Website
Read the full Lyrics for the Huron Carol

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2 Responses to “The Huron Carol – A Christmas Hymn- Twas in the Moon of Wintertime”

  1. Bawne says:

    Beautiful!! I’ve always wanted to hear this in the original Huron.

  2. Lady Sharon says:

    Dear Bawne,

    I just heard this recently also and fell in love with it. I’m so happy you found it too. Thank you for visiting Camelot. May peace follow you today and always.

    Lady Sharon
    Scribe of Camelot