¡Feliz Navidad! 15 Spanish Christmas Songs

Last updated on October 29th, 2023 at 09:52 pm

Spanish Christmas Songs

With almost 500 million Spanish speakers around the world, it’s no surprise that the language has its own vast collection of iconic Christmas songs. Many Spanish speakers in Mexico and Central and South America decorate their homes during Christmas with mangers, nativity scenes, and trees hung with ornaments. It’s common for families to have a novena—a big celebration with plenty of food, prayers from a novenario, and, of course, lots of Christmas music.

So, what songs are you most likely to hear during the holidays? Our Remitly team has compiled a variety of popular Spanish Christmas songs, both original and translated, to put on the stereo (or the Bluetooth speaker!) for this year’s Fiesta de Navidad. ¡Vamonos!

Original Spanish Christmas songs

In many parts of the world, Christmas carols are about Santa Claus, presents wrapped with bows, and the natural beauty of the season. While it’s common to hear Spanish songs about Papá Noel or Father Christmas, the holiday—and its music—generally has a more religious focus.

A long list of original Christmas songs in Spanish celebrate the birth of Jesus and tell stories of the three wise men, the Virgin Mary, and other beloved characters. Over the generations, they have become standard holiday fare. Here are eight of the most popular songs.

1. “Feliz Navidad” (Merry Christmas)

No conversation about Spanish Christmas music would be complete without mentioning “Feliz Navidad,” the iconic song by José Feliciano. This lively song has an undeniable feeling of happiness, hope, and Christmas joy and is the perfect choice for dancing around the Christmas tree.

It’s also a great song for people looking to learn some Spanish basics because the song contains only the phrases “feliz navidad“ and “próspero año y felicidad.“ As a result, this is one of the most popular Spanish-language Christmas songs in the English-speaking world.

2. “Los Peces en el Río” (The Fish in the River)

Hispanic culture has a long tradition of villancicos, religious carols that carry themes about the birth of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and other faith-related aspects of the holiday. As one of the most famous villancicos, “Los Peces en el Río” is commonly played over sound systems and performed live all over Mexico and South America during the Christmas season.

The song has a gentle melody and a more somber tone, with lyrics about the Virgin Mary washing the infant Jesus’ clothes in the river. This popular song has many recordings, including contemporary versions and instrumentals.

3. “Mi Burrito Sabanero” (My Little Donkey of the Savannah)

Though it also carries a religious theme, “Mi Burrito Sabanero” is an upbeat and playful Spanish carol that focuses on the titular “little donkey” that carries Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, where Jesus will be born.

This catchy song has lovely, poetic lyrics in the original language, and kids and adults alike count it among their favorites.

Interestingly, this classic Christmas song also goes by another name, “El Burrito de Belén.“ Written in 1972 by Hugo Blanco, the tune is Venezuelan. Simón Díaz originally recorded it, but La Rondallita’s version is the one that became a hit in Latin America. The title translates to “The Donkey of Bethlehem.“

You’ll most likely hear the song “Mi Burrito Sabanero” in Mexico and “El Burrito de Belén“ in South America. The renaming of “El Burrito de Belén“ is owed to the fact that the lyrics “burrito sabanero“ are the most distinctive ones in the classic song.

4. “Campanas de Belén” (Bells of Bethlehem)

“Campanas de Belén” is another famous villancico that is commonly heard across Mexico and South America. The lyrics describe the ringing bells of Bethlehem that signified the birth of Jesus.

It’s a joyful song celebrating the peace brought to the land on Christmas. It’s common to hear versions by both choirs and individual artists.

5. “Vamos, Pastores, Vamos” (Let’s Go, Pastors, Let’s Go)

“Vamos, Pastores, Vamos” is a villancico about the shepherds’ journey to meet the newborn baby Jesus and the Virgin Mary on Christmas Day. It has an upbeat melody and fairly simple lyrics, making it an excellent choice for sing-alongs with kids or people learning to speak Spanish.

6. “Ven a Mi Casa Esta Navidad” (Come to My House This Christmas)

Another beloved Christmas song in South America, this tune was released by Argentinian artist Luis Aguile in 1973. The moving original song is about a person inviting someone away from their family to come to their house and celebrate Christmas. It encourages hospitality and reflects the idea that the holiday season is a time for friends and family and shouldn’t be spent alone.

7. “Cumbia de Navidad” (Christmas Cumbia)

Recorded by the Peruvian band Los Toribianitos in 1992, “Cumbia de Navidad“ stands out among other Spanish Christmas carols because it was written specifically to be danced to. The word “cumbia“ refers to a Colombian folk dance that involves taking small, shuffling steps. You can trace its roots back to the colonial era when Indigenous enslaved peoples would dance with their feet chained.

In the tradition of folk music, this Christmas song features a steady beat that will get your toes tapping, even if you don’t know how to do the cumbia.

8. “24 De Diciembre” (24th of December)

Acclaimed Mexican singer Juan Gabriel released “24 De Diciembre“ in 1996, and the song has become a modern classic. It paints the picture of a family spending Christmas Eve together, describing the festivities and how everyone puts aside the previous year’s troubles to enjoy the holiday.

Spanish versions of English-language Christmas carols

Spanish-language versions of well-known, traditional English-language Christmas songs are also very popular in many Latin American countries. These are eight of the most popular Spanish covers of English Christmas carols that you’ll hear on the radio and at Spanish-language midnight mass services throughout Latin America.

1. “Noche de Paz” (Silent Night)

Although we often think of the hymn as an English Christmas carol, “Silent Night“ was actually written and composed by Austrian organist Franz Xavier Gruber and Austrian priest Joseph Mohr in German. In Spanish-speaking countries, the song is called “Noche de Paz“ or “Night of Peace.“ The Spanish version features lyrics by Federico Fliedner, a 19th-century scholar who also translated the New Testament of the Bible for the Spanish-speaking world.

2. “Navidad, Navidad” (Christmas, Christmas)

“Navidad, Navidad” has a different, more religious meaning than its English version, known as “Jingle Bells.” However, the tune is unmistakable! There are several Spanish versions of this song, including one called “Cascabel, Cascabel,” which is a favorite of kids.

3. “Rodolfo el Reno” (Rudolph the Reindeer)

For those familiar with European and North American Christmas carols, this one will be very recognizable. “Rodolfo el Reno” is a Spanish-translated version of everyone’s favorite red-nosed reindeer.

The Spanish and English versions have very similar lyrics, so it’s easy for even non-Spanish speakers to follow the story and sing along despite the translation.

4. “Blanca Navidad” (White Christmas)

“Blanca Navidad” is a Spanish version of the famous English-language carol, “White Christmas.” As with the English version, this Spanish carol is about admiring the peace and beauty of a snowy Christmas and the joy and nostalgia that comes with it.

Spanish Christmas Songs

5. “Cascabeles” (Jingle Bells)

People sing “Jingle Bells“ all over the world. In Latin America, the song is called “Cascabeles“ and has been recorded by many famous singers. One of the most famous renditions was released in 2015 by Cuban singer Celia Cruz and La Sonora Matancera.

6. “El Tamborilero” (The Little Drummer Boy)

Katherine Kennicott Davis composed “The Little Drummer Boy“ in 1941, and the Trapp Family made the song a hit in 1951. Since then, this Christmas song about a young boy who plays his drum for the baby Jesus in Bethlehem has been translated into many other languages. In 2015, Spanish singer Raphael released a moving rendition of the Spanish version called “El Tamborilero.

7. “Venid, Adoremos” (O Come, All Ye Faithful)

Just who originally composed the Christmas carol “O Come, All Ye Faithful“ is unknown, but historians have determined that the hymn dates back to 1744 when it went by the Latin title “Adeste Fideles.“

Frederick Oakley is credited with the English translation, which served as the inspiration for Spanish versions. Although the Spanish Christmas song is universally called “Venid, Adoremos,“ the lyrics published in hymnals vary throughout Latin America. In 2009, opera singer Andrea Bocelli included one version on his Christmas album “Mi Navidad.“

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