Most Polish carols have a folk origin and their authors are unknown. But there are exceptions. Piotr Skarga, the confessor of Polish King Sigismund III, is said to be an author of W żłobie leży. Supposedly he based the melody of this carol on a coronation polonaise for King Władysław IV. The carol has been translated into English as “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly” and has become a Christmas standard.
Lyrics, chords and video or audio samples for many more Polish Christmas Carols are listed on the main Christmas page.
Kolendy ("kolędy" in Polish) and pastorałki are two types of Polish Christmas carols; kolendy are religious hymns celebrating the Nativity and pastoralki are the secular shepard's songs that also celebrate the birth of Christ but were never accepted as dogmatically accurate by the Church. Many of these songs, universally beloved for their sweet and hauntingly beautiful melodies, date back to before the 15th century and are still treasured by Poles today. If you are Polish or of Polish descent, certainly you have fond memories of singing kolendy in church during the Christmas season or perhaps listening to a family musician play them on guitar, violin or piano for your Christmas celebrations.
Kolendy, like the story of Christmas, never get old.