8. Adeste Fideles

During December, I’m posting my Top 10 favorite holiday songs. Each song has a special story or meaning behind it for me. What stories or meanings do you have for your favorite holiday songs?

Here is a holiday song that actually is a Christmas song. I first sang this song in elementary school, and I’ve sung it in every choir I’ve been in through high school.  (Yes, we did sing Christmas songs in public schools back then.) You probably know it by its English version, “O Come All Ye Faithful.” So, why do I call it by its Latin name, “Adeste Fideles”?

When I first sang this song in elementary school, we were taught the Latin lyrics, “Adeste fideles, laeti triumphantes. Venite, venite in Bethlehem…” As a fifth grader, I thought that singing in Latin was cool. I also found learning Latin was helpful when I took an after-school Spanish class in the sixth grade.

I discovered that singing helped me learn additional languages more easily than the traditional methods of memorization and repeating sentences. Research has shown that singing can help with the development of language for young children. Singing can also help victims of stroke regain their language skills. I remember how my mom’s stroke left her unable to speak, but she could properly form words when she was singing.

For me, “Adeste Fideles” is more than just a pleasant and proper Christmas song. It shows how singing can strengthen language skills, whether we are learning or relearning how to speak our own language or mastering a new one. That’s why “O Come All Ye Faithful” will always be “Adeste Fideles” to me.

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