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An Italian Christmas Carol: Dormi, Dormi Bel Bambin

An Italian Christmas Carol: Dormi, Dormi Bel Bambin

It’s Christmas season. While you are decorating the tree this year, you should incorporate an Italian Christmas carol into your playlist. “Dormi, Dormi Bel Bambin” is a famous one that I like, and you can find some great arrangements of it online. I’ve included one of my favorite arrangements with the lyrics and translation below.

Dormi, dormi o bel Bambin / Sleep, sleep o beautiful Child
Re Divin, Re Divin. / King Divine, King Divine.
Fa la nanna o fantolino / Go to sleep, baby
Re Divin, Re Divin. / King Divine, King Divine.
Dormi, dormi o bel Bambin / Sleep, sleep, o beautiful Child
Dormi, dormi, Re Divin./ Sleep, sleep, King Divine.
Fa, la, la, la, la
Fa, la, la, la, la
Fa, la, la, la, la
Fa, la, la, la
Fa, la, la, la
Fa, la, la, la
Fa la, la, la
Perché piangi, o mio tesor? / Why do you cry, o my treasure?
Dolce amor, dolce amor / Sweet love, sweet love.
Fa la nanna, caro figlio / Go to sleep, dear Son
Tanto bel, tanto bel. / So beautiful, so beautiful.
Dormi, dormi o bel Bambin / Sleep, sleep o beautiful Child
Dormi, dormi, Re Divin / Sleep, sleep, King Divine.
Dormi, dormi o bel Bambin / Sleep, sleep o beautiful Child
Dormi, dormi, Re Divin / Sleep, sleep, King Divine.
Fa la la la (Repeat 7x)
O bel Bambin. / O beautiful Baby.
Dormi, dormi o bel Bambin / Sleep, sleep o beautiful Child
Re Divin, Re Divin. / King Divine, King Divine.
Fa la nanna, o fantolino / Go to sleep, baby
Re Divin, Re Divin. / King Divine, King Divine.

Here are some fun Italian words and phrases for the holidays:

una mangiatoia
una mangiatoia

Soprammobile: ornament
Angelo: angel
Albero di Natale: Christmas tree
Buon Natale: Merry Christmas
Babbo Natale: Santa Claus
Biglietto d’auguri di Natale: Christmas card
Mangiatoia: Manger
Regalo di Natale: Christmas gift

I can’t write a post about Christmas in Italy without mentioning “La Befana.” La Befana is an old woman who delivers gifts to children throughout Italy on Epiphany Eve (the night of January 5). Epiphany is a holiday that celebrates the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child.

un albero di Natale

According to Italian folklore, La Befana fills children’s shoes with candy and presents if they are good or coal if they are bad. Instead of milk and cookies, the children’s family leaves Befana some wine and food. She is sometimes portrayed as a friendly witch because she flies around on a broom.

Slate has a fun article about her that you can find here: “Forget Santa. You Should Celebrate La Befana.” If you are tired of Elf on the Shelf and want to add a fun Christmas story to your child’s library, check out La Befana: An Italian Night After Christmas or The Legend of Old Befana.

If you have a favorite Italian Christmas tradition or carol, please share it in the comments below. Buon Natale!