The Huron Carol
"Twas in the Moon of Wintertime"


   In 1640, Saint Jean de Brebeuf, a Jesuit missionary to the Hurons, wrote "Twas in the Moon of Wintertime" in the Huron language while recovering from a broken bone.  The song was a gift to the Hurons who came to his mission in Quebec. The Huron Carol was included in "The Hymn Book of the Anglican Church of Canada and the United Church of Canada" in 1971. It is also found in the Methodist Hymnal.

Huron Carol in the Huron Language

Guide to Pronunciation 
8 = 'w' before vowel
'u' before consonant
i - like 'ee' in 'freeze',
a - like 'ah'
th = t followed by an aspiration
an - as in ah
Accents tend to fall on the 2nd last syllable


Estennia,on de tson8e Ies8s ahatonnia eh-sten-nyah-yon deh tson-weh ee-sus a-ha-ton-nyah
Have courage, you who are humans, Jesus, he is born

Onn'a8ate8a d'oki n'on,8andask8aentakon-nah-wah-teh-wah do-kee non-ywah-ndah-skwa-en tak
Behold, the spirit who had us as prisoners has fled

Ennonchien sk8atrihotat n'on,8andi,onrachatha en-non-shyen skwah-tree-hotat non-ywa-ndee-yon-rah-shah-thah
Do not listen to it, as it corrupts our minds

Iesus ahatonniaA,oki onkinnhache eronhia,eronnon ayo-kee on-kee-nhah-sheh eh-ron-hya-yeh-ron-non
They are spirits, coming with a message for us, the sky people

iontonk ontatiande ndio sen tsatonnharonnion yon-tonk on-tah-tya-ndeh ndyo sen tsah-ton-nha-ron-nyon

They are coming to say, Rejoice.

8arie onna8ak8eton ndio sen tsatonnharonnion
wah-ree on-nah-wah-kweh-ton ndyo sen tsah ton-nha-ron-nyon

Marie, she has just given birth. Rejoice.

Ies8s ahatonniaAchink ontahonrask8a d'hatirih8annens a-shien-k on-tah-hon-rah-skwah dhah-tee-ree-hwan-nens
Three have left for such a place, those who are elders

Tichion ha,onniondetha onh8a achia ahatren tee-shyon ha-yon-nyon-deh-tha on-hwah a-shya ah-hah-tren
A star that has just appeared over the horizon leads them there

Ondaiete hahahak8a tichion ha,onniondetha on-dee teh-hah-hah-hah-kwah tee-shyon ha-yon-nyon-deh-tha
He will seize the path, he who leads them there

Ies8s ahatonniaTho ichien stahation tethotondi Ies8shoh ee-shyen stah-hah-tyon teh-tho-ton-ndee ee-su
As they arrived there, where he was born, Jesus

ahoatatende tichion stan chi teha8ennionah-ho-a-tah-ten-nde tyee-shyon stan shee teh-hah-wen-nyon
The star was at the point of stopping, he was not far past it

Aha,onatorenten iatonk atsion sken a-hah-yon-ah-to-ren-ten yah-tonk ah-tsyon sken
Having found someone for them, he says, Come here

Ies8s ahatonniaOnne ontahation chiahona,en Ies8s on-nen on-tah-hah-tyon shyah-hon-ah-yen ee-sus
Behold, they have arrived there and have seen Jesus

Ahatichiennonniannon kahachia handia,on ah-hah-tee-shyen-non-nyan-non kah-hah-shyah hah-ndyah-yo
They praised his name many times, saying Hurrah, he is good in nature

Te honannonronk8annnion ihontonk oerisen
teh-hon-an-non-ron-kwan-nyon ee-hon-tonk o-eh-ree-sen

They greeted him with reverence  saying Hurrah

Iesus ahatonniaTe hek8atatenno.nten ahek8achiendaen teh-heh-kwah-tah-ten-non-ten ah-heh-kwah-shyen-ndah-en
We will give to him praise for his name

Te hek8annonronk8annion de son,8entenrandeteh-heh-kwan-non-ron-kwan-nyon deh son-ywen-ten-ran-ndeh
Let us show reverence for him as he comes to be compassionate to us.

8to,eti sk8annonh8e ichierhe akennonhonstha u-to-yeh-tee skwan-non-hweh ee-shyeh-rheh ah-keh-non-hon-sthah
It is providential that you love us and wish, I should adopt them

From You Tube: Wendant Version of Huron Carol
 Popular English Translation

'Twas in the moon of winter-time 
When all the birds had fled, 
That mighty Gitchi Manitou 
Sent angel choirs instead; 
Before their light the stars grew dim, 
And wandering hunter heard the hymn: 
"Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, 
In excelsis gloria." 

Within a lodge of broken bark 
The tender Babe was found, 
A ragged robe of rabbit skin 
Enwrapp'd His beauty round; 
But as the hunter braves drew nigh, 
The angel song rang loud and high... 

"Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, 
In excelsis gloria." 

O children of the forest free, 
O sons of Manitou, 
The Holy Child of earth and heaven 
Is born today for you. 
Come kneel before the radiant Boy 
Who brings you beauty, peace and joy."

Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, 
In excelsis gloria." 

  Translation  by Mildred Milliea, edited by Eskasoni Elder's Committee

Na kesikewiku'sitek jipji'jk* majita'titek 
Kji-Niskam petkimasnika ansale'wilitka 
Kloqoejuitpa'q, Netuklijik nutua'tiji. 
Se'sus eleke'wit, Se'sus pekisink, ewlite'lmin 
Ula nqanikuomk etli we'ju'ss mijua'ji'j
Tel-klu'sit euli tetpoqa'tasit apli'kmujuey 
L'nu'k netuklijik nutua'tiji ansale'wiliji. 
Se'sus eleke'wit, Se'sus pekisink, eulite'lmin 
O' mijua'ji'jk nipuktukewe'k, O' Niskam wunijink 
Maqmikek aq Wa'so'q tley ula mijua'ji'j 
Pekisink kiskuk wjit kilow, pekisitoq wantaqo'ti. 
Se'sus eleke'wit, Se'sus pekisink, eulite'lmin 

Listen to the Huron Carol sung by the Eskasoni Trio :






Erase una vez en la luna del invierno,
Cuando todos los pájaros habían huído,
Ese Gitchi poderoso Manitou
Envió un coro de ángeles en vez. 
Ante su luz las estrellas crecieron déviles,
Y los cazadores vagabundos oyeron el himno:
"Jesús tu Rey nace, Jesús nace, Gloria en las Alturas! 

Dentro de una casa de campo de corteza quebrada
Encontraron al tierno bebé,
Un traje ajado de piel de conejo
Envolvía su belleza redonda.
Y al trazar los bravos cazadores el camino,
La canción del ángel sonó alta y sonora:
"Jesús tu Rey nace, Jesús nace, Gloria en las Alturas! 

Oh niños del bosque libre, Oh Hijos de Manitou,
El Niño santo de la tierra y del Cielo
Ha nacido hoy para ti.
Vengan, arrodillénsen ante el Niño radiante
Quién les trae belleza, paz y alegría. 





Chrétiens, prenez courage,
 Sauveur est né
Du Malin les ouvrages
A jamais sont ruinés,
Quand il chante merveille,
A ces troublants appas
Ne prétez plus l'oreille: Jésus est né:
In excelsis gloria.

 Oyez cette nouvelle,
Don't un ange est porteur!
Oyez! âmes fidéles;
Et dilatez vos coeurs,
La Vierge dan l'étable
Entoure de ses bras
L'Enfant-Dieu adorable. Jésus est né:
In excelisis gloria. 

. Voici que trois Rois-Mages
Perdus en Orient,
Déchiffrent ce message
Ecrit au firmanment:
L`astre nouveau les hante.
lls la suivront là-bas
Cette étoile marchante: Jésus est né
In excelsis gloria.

Illustration by Frances Tyrrell,  Key Porter Books

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