‘O Christmas Tree’ in Spanish

‘Que verdes son’ is the common Spanish version of the ‘O Tannnenbaum’

Couple decorating Christmas tree

John Lund / Marc Romanelli / Getty Images

Below is a Spanish-language version of O Tannenbaum, a famous German Christmas carol more formally known in English as O Christmas Tree. After exploring the translated lyrics, learn how the word order changes for poetry in Spanish, along with additional vocabulary and grammar notes for the translation. These notes will better explain how phrases and terms change in translation from German to Spanish, plus how the definition of the word can transform itself into the Spanish language. Review the lyrics of Qué Verdes Son below and then learn about the difference between hoja, brillar, airosas, and other words and phrases within the song.

Qué verdes son

Qué verdes son, qué verdes son
las hojas del abeto.
Qué verdes son, qué verdes son
las hojas del abeto.
En Navidad qué hermoso está
con su brillar de luces mil.
Qué verdes son, qué verdes son
las hojas del abeto.

Qué verdes son, qué verdes son
las hojas del abeto.
Qué verdes son, qué verdes son
las hojas del abeto.
Sus ramas siempre airosas son,
su aroma es encantador.
Qué verdes son, qué verdes son
las hojas del abeto.

Translation of the Spanish Lyrics

How green are, how green are
the needles of the fir tree.
How green are, how green are
the needles of the fir tree.
At Christmas how beautiful you are
with your glittering of a thousand lights.
How green are, how green are
the needles of the fir tree.

How green are, how green are
the needles of the fir tree.
How green are, how green are
the needles of the fir tree.
Your branches always elegant are,
your aroma is enchanting.
How green are, how green are
the needles of the fir tree.

Alternative Spanish Version of ‘O Christmas Tree’

Here is a another version of the song. Not as close in meaning to the original or English versions, it makes specific reference to the Christian holiday.

Oh árbol de la Navidad

Oh árbol de la Navidad,
tú siempre alegre y verde estás.

Qué triste el bosque se ve
cuando el invierno venga ya.

Oh árbol de la Navidad,
tú siempre alegre y verde estás.

Oh árbol de la Navidad,
tú me recuerdas a Jesús.

Un niño Rey nació en Belén
para traernos todo bien.

Oh árbol de la Navidad,
tú me recuerdas a Jesús.

Translation of ‘Oh árbol de la Navidad’

Oh Christmas tree,
you are always joyful and green.

How sad the forest looks
when winter is still coming.

Oh Christmas tree,
You are always joyful and green.

A boy King was born in Bethlehem
to bring us all that is good.

O Christmas tree,
you remind me of Jesus.

Vocabulary, Grammar, and Translation Notes

  • An unusual word order is used throughout the lyrics in both songs for poetic purposes, and so the lyrics tend to go well with the music.
  • The phrase typically used to refer to a Christmas tree is árbol de Navidad. Although the lyrics of Qué verdes son do not specifically refer to a Christmas tree, neither do those of the original German carol, which was not originally written as a Christmas song.
  • Hoja is normally translated as "leaf," but "needles" is used in this translation because that is what the leaves of a fir tree are typically called. Hoja can also be used to refer to a sheet of paper or a sheet of metal.
  • Brillar is a verb usually meaning "to shine," "to glitter," or "to be conspicuous." The infinitive form here, like other infinitives, can be used as a noun. In nonpoetic use of the language, the noun brillantez would be more likely here.
  • Airosas could have been translated more literally as "airy."
  • Note that the word aroma, like many other words of Greek origin ending in -a, is masculine.
  • Se ve is an example of a verb used reflexively. The phrase could be translated in a passive way as "is seen."
  • The meaning of ya varies widely with context, often meaning "yet" or "still."
  • The word traernos combines the infinitive traer (usually translated as "to bring") with the pronoun nos (us). It is common to attach direct object pronouns to infinitives in this way.