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El Noi de la Mare

Catalan Christmas Song

El Noi de la Mare (The Boy of the Mother) is a traditional children’s song and Christmas lullaby from Catalonia, with possible origins as early as the 18th century.

The song is sung from the perspective of children who, upon seeing Our Lord, ask what they should give the Christ Child. First they decide to give Him their best-tasting foods: raisins, figs, walnuts and olives. Then: a blanket to keep Him warm in the cold. Finally, Angels from Heaven come to cradle the Child, while singing “songs of glory that are not of the world”.

El Noi de la Mare is here interpreted by Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal.

Note: The lyrics of this song vary, but we have made a special selection below for our readers. The choir in the recording sings verses 1, 3 and 5.

Listen to El Noi de la Mare


Catalan lyrics

1. Què li darem a n'el Noi de la Mare?
Què li darem que li sàpiga bo?
Li darem panses amb unes balances
Li darem figues amb un paneret.

2. Què li darem al Fillet de Maria?
Què li darem a l'hermós Jesuset?
Jo li voldria donar una manta
Que l'abrigués ara que fa tant fred.

3. Què li darem al Fillet de Maria?
Què li darem al formós Infantó?
Panses i figues, i nous i olives,
Panses i figues, i mèl i mató.

4. Una cançó jo també cantaria
Una cançó ben bonica d'amor
I que n'és treta d'una Donzelleta
Que n'és la Verge Mare del Senyor.

5. Tam, patamtam, que les figues són verdes
Tam, patamtam, que ja maduraran;
Si no maduren el dia de Pasqua,
Maduraran en el dia del Ram.

6. Àngels del cel són els que l’en bressolen,
Àngels del cel que li fan venir son,
Mentre li canten cançons d’alegria,
Cants de la glòria que no són del món.

English translation:

1. What shall we give to the Boy of the Mother?
What shall we give Him that will taste good to Him?
We will give him well-weighed raisins
We will give him figs with a basket.

2. What shall we give to Mary's son?
What shall we give to the beautiful Jesus?
I would like to give Him a blanket
That would cover Him now that it is so cold.

3. What shall we give to Mary's Son?
What shall we give the beautiful Infant?
Raisins and figs, and walnuts and olives,
Raisins and figs, and honey and curd.

4. A song I would also sing,
A very beautiful song of love
That is taken from a Maiden
Who is the Virgin Mother of the Lord.

5. Tam, patamtam, the figs are green
Tam, patamtam, they will ripen soon;
If they do not ripen on Easter,
They will ripen on Palm Sunday.

6. It is Angels of Heaven that cradle Him,
Angels of heaven who lull Him to sleep,
While singing songs of joy to Him,
Songs of glory that are not of the world.

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For a larger PDF version, click here.

For a version in C Major, click here.

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