Inside: 25 Spanish Christmas songs and carols, popular in Spain and Latin America.
There are no shortage of Christmas songs in Spanish! This post breaks down the most popular songs you can hear in Spain and across Latin America.
As you’ll see, some are familiar tunes you know in English, while others were originally written in Spanish.
Villancicos is the Spanish term for Christmas carols. Most are characterized by easy to remember words and music, written several centuries ago in Spain.
As Spanish-speaking countries are predominantly Catholic, you’ll see that most of these carols center on the Nativity story and are forms of villancicos. There are a few exceptions to this, and a few from places other than Spain.
1. Lists of Most Famous Spanish Christmas Songs
2. General Christmas Playlist
Top 10 Spanish Christmas Songs:
- Campana Sobre Campana
- Mi Burrito Sabanero/ El Burrito de Belén
- Feliz Navidad
- Los Peces en el Río
- El Niño del Tambor (The Little Drummer Boy)
- Noche de Paz / Blanca Navidad (Silent Night)
- Arre, Borriquito
- Ya Vienen Los Reyes Magos
- Cascabel (Jingle Bells)
- Ven a Cantar
15 More Traditional Christmas Songs in Spanish:
- Fum, Fum, Fum
- Los Pastores a Belén
- Ay del Chiquirritín
- Hacía Belén Va Una Burra
- El Reno Rudolfo (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer)
- Blanca Navidad (White Christmas)
- Pastores venid
- Adestes Fideles (O Come, All Ye Faithful)
- Ya Viene el Niñito
- A Belen Pastores
- Los Campanilleros
- Una Pandareta Suena
- Ven a Mi Casa Esta Navidad
- Ven a cantar
Our own kids listen to their Christmas songs in both Spanish and English. I’m hoping they’ll have those same happy memories in both languages!
1. Campana Sobre Campana
Belén, campanas de Belén
Que los ángeles tocan
¿Qué nuevas nos traéis?
This is one of the most famous villancicos originally written in Spanish, and it’s been translated to over one hundred other languages. Campana Sobre Campana refers to bells ringing and announcing the news of the birth of Jesus, beckoning everyone to go see him with the shepherds.
2. Mi burrito sabanero/ El burrito de Belén
Con mi burrito sabanero, voy camino de Belén
Si me ven, si me ven
Voy camino de Belén
This Venezuelan song is well-known to Spanish-speakers all over the world. It’s about a little boy who is riding his donkey to see the baby Jesus, and urging him to hurry (with the famous lines tuki, tuki, tuki, tuki).
The song is on the Billboard top 100 list of Christmas songs and became famous by a 1976 cover from a children’s group called La Rondallita. One sad part of this song is that the iconic lead voice– from an 8-year-old boy named Ricardo Cuenci– was never compensated for the subsequent royalties.
3. Feliz Navidad
Próspero año y felicidad
Who doesn’t know this 19-word classic? Feliz Navidad is probably the most famous bilingual song in the world. It was written in 1970 by José Feliciano in 10 minutes, and has been stuck in our heads ever since!
4. Los peces en el río
Pero mira cómo beben
los peces en el río.
Pero mira cómo beben
por ver a Dios nacido.
Los Peces en el Río is one of the most iconic Christmas songs in Spanish, though we don’t know who wrote the song or where it came from.
In it, the Virgin Mary is going about her day at home, calmly doing daily tasks. All the fish in the rivers, however, can barely contain their excitement about the coming birth of Jesus.
5. El Niño del Tambor
Los pastorcillos quieren ver a su rey
Le traen regalos en su humilde zurrón
Ha nacido en un portal de Belén
El niño Dios
Yo quisiera poner a tus pies
Algún presente que te agrade, Señor
Mas tú sabes que soy pobre también
Y no poseo más que un viejo tambor
Though we’re not exactly sure who wrote this song, it was first record by the Trapp Family Singers in 1951. It’s about a little drummer boy visiting the Christ Child, by invitation of the Magi. He can’t afford to bring an expensive gift as he would like, and so he offers his music as a gift. It’s sometimes known in Spanish as El Pequeño Tamborilero or El tamborilero.
6. Noche de Paz
Noche de paz, noche de amor
Todo duerme alrededor
Entre los astros que esparcen su luz
Bella, anunciando al niño Jesús
Brilla la estrella de paz
Brilla la estrella de amor
Silent Night was originally written in German in 1818, by Austrian priest Joseph Mohr. Since then, it’s been translated to over 300 languages and has become a global anthem of peace and hope.
7. Arre, Borriquito
Arre borriquito, arre burro arre
Anda más deprisa que llegamos tarde
Arre borriquito vamos a Belén
Que mañana es fiesta
Y al otro también
This song seems to have origins as a military tune, written in the 1920’s by journalist Diego San Jose de la Torre. It stars the donkey that took Mary to Bethlehem, urging him to hurry on the way .This is a bit of a cheeky song on the festive side of Spanish Christmas carols.
8. Ya Vienen Los Reyes Magos
Ya vienen los Reyes Magos
Caminito de Belén
Olé, olé, olanda y olé
Olanda ya se ve
The Three Kings hold a special place in Spanish Christmas traditions, as bearers of gifts to children (somewhat in the tradition of Santa Claus, but on January 6th). These lyrics tell about their journey to Bethlehem and (there are two different versions: the other one also describes what gifts they were bringing to baby Jesus).
Navidad, navidad, hoy es navidad
Es un día de alegría y de felicidad (hey)…
If you’re confused about how to sing Jingle Bells in Spanish, don’t worry! There are several Spanish versions, though none is actually a direct translation of the original song. While Jingle Bells in English doesn’t actually mention Christmas, the Spanish version Navidad, navidad is all about about it.
10. Ven a Cantar
Navidad, feliz Navidad,
vuelve a casa, vuelve al hogar.
Navidad, dulce Navidad,
es calor de hogar
We’ll end with with Ven a Cantar, that departs from the traditional carol format. Instead of focusing on the nativity, this one is all about the general warmth and homey feeling that Christmas inspires in us.
11. La Marimorena
Ande, ande, ande, la marimorena
Ande, ande, ande que es la Nochebuena
The origin of this song is unclear. However, some say that there was a disturbance during a ceremony in a convent, in 1702. People heard the sounds of zambombas (a kind of drum) and singing, led by a local tavern keeper “María la Morena.” Others say the term Marimonera refers to María, the mother of Jesus. Either way, it’s a beloved Christmas song!
12. Fum, Fum, Fum
Como un Sol nació Jesús
Radiando luz, radiando luz
De María era hijo
Un establo fue su cuna
Fum, fum, fum
This song is Catalan, and often heard during Christmas in Spain. Fum means smoke, which may refer to the time of Christmas and smoke coming out of chimneys. It’s a joyful description of what happens on the 25th of December.
13. Los Pastores a Belén
Ay, ay, ay, qué alegres van
Ay, ay, ay, si volverán
Con la pan, pan, pan
Con la de, de, de
Con la pan, con la de
Con la pandereta y las castañuelas
Los Pastores a Belén stars the group of shepherds who went to see baby Jesus. In the song, they are so eager to go that one of the shepherds loses his shoe and he’s told to simply leave it behind.
14. Ay del Chiquirritín
Ay del chiquirritín chiquirriquitín
Metidito entre pajas
Ay del chiquirritín chiquirriquitín
Queridin, queridito del alma
This song comes from the community Andalusia, a southern autonomous community in Spain. It was written as a catchy song for children to remember the Christmas story. “Chiquitirrín” is a term of endearment for young children, in this case referring to baby Jesus.
15. Hacía Belén Va Una Burra
En el portal de Belén, rin, rin
Yo me remendaba, yo me remendé
Yo me hice un remiendo, yo me lo quité
Los gitanillos han entrado
Another song about a donkey? Yep, it is! It’s also one of 130 villancicos composed by Antonio Solar. The chorus is like a tongue twister and the lyrics can vary, but the gist is that the donkey is going to Bethlehem, bearing chocolate to give to Mary.
16. El Reno Rudolfo
Era Rodolfo un reno que tenía la nariz
Roja como la grana y de un brillo singular
This was originally written as a children’s book by Robert L. May. His brother-in-law turned it into a song, performed by Gene Autry. It topped the charts in 1949, and has been a top Christmas song since then. Rodolfo el Reno is now popular in Spanish speaking countries too!
17. Blanca Navidad
Oh, blanca Navidad, sueño
Y con la nieve alrededor
Blanca es mi quimera
Y es mensajera de paz y de puro amor
From the hit movie of the same name, White Christmas was written by Irving Berlin and first sung by Bing Crosby in 1941. It has since become the most-sold song in the world, translated into more than 300 languages.
18. Pastores Venid
Adorad al niño
Adorad al niño
Que ha nacido ya
Another song about the shepherds, Pastores Venid beckons them to go to the manger and see Jesus. There are different versions of the lyrics, including a funny one that tells a shepherd his unshaved beard might scare the baby.
19. Adestes Fideles / Venid Fieles
Vuelen campanas, que ye esta aquí el niño Dios
Los ángeles del cielo bailan de contentos
que sepa el mundo entero, que Dios llegó
The original author of this song is not known, but it appears to be sometime in the 17th or 18th century. Originally sung in Latin (Adestes fideles is the Latin title), it is has since been translated to many languages and is a global Christmas Carol.
20. Ven a Mi Casa Esta Navidad
Tú que estás lejos de tus amigos,
de tu tierra y de tu hogar,
y tienes pena, pena en el alma,
porque no dejas de pensar…
Por eso y muchas cosas más,
ven a mi casa esta Navidad.
This is a classic Christmas song that nods to the spirit of Christmas– that of warmth, hospitality, and family. It’s from Argentinian artist Luis Aguile.
21. A Belén Pastores
A Belén pastores, a Belén chiquillos que ha nacido el rey de los angelitos
En el portal de Belén hay estrellas Sol y luna, la Virgen y San José y el Niño que está en la cuna
This is another famous song about the shepherds, with simple lyrics telling them to hurry and see baby Jesus.
22. Los Campanilleros
En los campos de mi Andalucía
Los campanilleros en la madruga
Me despiertan con sus campanillas
Adorando al niño que ha nacido ya
This is another villancico from Andalusia, with flamenco-style music. Campanilleros refers to the men who used to rings the bells, calling people to mass.
23. Una Pandereta Suena
Sal mirandillo arandandillo
Sal mirandillo arandandá
Cabo de guardia alerta está
A pandereta is a tambourine, and refers to the joyful noise the from the procession on their way to see Jesus and Mary.
20. Ya Viene el Niñito
Ya nomás se caen todas las estrellas
A los pies del niño, más lindo que ellas
Niñito bonito, manojo de flores
Llora pobrecito por los pecadores.
This song come to us from Ecuador and was made famous by the recording with Pibes Trujillo.
25. Dime Niño Quién Eres
Resuenen con alegría
Los cánticos de mi tierra
Y viva el Niño de Dios
Que nació en la Nochebuena
Dime Niño is a classic song that recounts the story of the Virgin birth, with some lines in a format of question-and-answer (Tell me child, who are you? – I’m love in a manger and suffering on the cross).