Holy Night (Thoma)

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Holy Night is the title of a verse epic by the Bavarian writer Ludwig Thoma , which was published in 1917. It tells the Christmas story based on the Gospel of Luke in Bavarian dialect .


In “Holy Night”, Ludwig Thoma transfers the classic Christmas story into everyday Bavarian farming. The pregnant Maria trudges through snow-covered Bavaria until she is completely exhausted and is repeatedly turned away in search of a hostel.

The difference between poverty and wealth, which is present both in biblical history and in everyday Bavarian life, comes into its own.

Work history

Bertl Schultes reported on the story of how it came about, that Thoma was hunting with his hunter in the Tegernsee mountains in the Advent of 1915 when it was very cold . The hunter heard Thoma to himself saying: "In the forest is so staad, all gone san verwaht" - two verses of poetry that the writer in the following period to March 1916 in the farmhouse parlor of his country house "on the Tuftn" in Rottach wrote . Thoma later wrote to a friend: "It could be written down effortlessly and from the heart and was stimulated by the snow and quiet, starry winter nights". The story is also shaped by Thomas childhood in the forest houses Vorderriß and Oberammergau . The writer reported on a planned nativity play: “We wanted to make a nativity play: [ Ignatius Taschner ] the pictures, I the text. Plus music by Max Reger - that would have been something! "

Shortly before Christmas 1915, Thoma sent the first part of “Holy Night” to the two daughters of his friend Ignatius Taschner, who had died in 1913. He wrote that he had made "these verses [...] in memory of your dear father [Ignatius Taschner]". Thoma sent the second part of the story to the Taschner daughters on December 26 of the following year.

In 1917 the Munich Albert Langen Verlag published the "Holy Night", illustrated by Wilhelm Schulz .


The “Holy Night” is written in a Bavarian dialect, which Thoma probably called the “ Lenggries dialect”. This is unusual because the author , who has lived at Tegernsee since 1908, had no connection with Lenggries. Noticeable are some rather Tyrolean dialect words such as B. “Enk” for “you” and “Klumsn” for the gap between two wooden boards.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Dirk Walter: Ludwig Thomas "Holy Night" celebrates 100th birthday. In: Merkur.de. December 27, 2015, accessed July 8, 2018 .
  2. Hans Kratzer: Ludwig Thomas "Holy Night" is more than just Advent folklore. In: sueddeutsche.de. December 15, 2016, accessed July 9, 2018 .
  3. author and work. In: heilige-nacht.com. Retrieved July 8, 2018 .