Afraid not - our friends here in Italy have never heard of it!
This is a song beloved of Italian-Americans and made famous by the lovely Lou Monte in the early 1960s. It's the story of a little donkey who helps Santa take gifts to all the children of Italy because the reindeer can't manage Italy's hills.
Let's not waste any time though - here it is in all its glory! The original song version, although not an original video. There was no such thing as music videos in Lou Monte's day!
It's Dominick the donkey.
The Italian Christmas donkey.
Santa's got a little friend
His name is Dominick;
The cutest little donkey -
You never see him kick.
When Santa visits his ‘paisans’,
With Dominick he'll be,
Because the reindeer cannot climb
The hills of Italy.
Jingle bells around his feet
And presents on the sled;
Hey - look at the mayor's derby,
On top of Dominick's head!
A pair of shoes for Louie
And a dress for Josephine;
The labels on the inside says
They're made in Brooklyn.
Children sing, and clap their hands
And Dominick starts to dance;
They talk Italian to him,
And he even understands.
And dance ‘a tarantell’
When San’a Nicola’ comes to town,
And brings u ciucciariell’.
It’s Sicilian dialect.
"Paisans" means fellow countrywomen and men.
"Cumpare sing" : dialect for ‘friend’ - so, “sing, my friend”.
"A tarantell" : the shortened form of "la tarantella" - a popular Italian dance.
"San’na Nicol' " : the dialect version of 'San Nicola' - Saint Nicholas or ‘Santa Claus’.
And "u cucciarell' " is dialect meaning ‘the little donkey’.
Here's a really fun version for you to sing with.
For some reason - no-one seems quite sure why - a college fraternity at Butler University, Western Illinois, USA, adopted Dominick as their college anthem over twenty-five years ago.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas every single year, they play the Italian Christmas Donkey at full blast from the windows of their dorm. Some of their neighbours don't much like it apparently - but hey! - it's all part of the Christmas spirit!
Here's their version.
When you buy this song by following the link from our page, we make a small commission from Amazon. It doesn't affect the price you pay.
This page is dedicated to all the badly-treated donkeys of the world and because of that, we will donate half of any money we receive from the sale of 'Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey' to the Italian Donkey Society.
Click on Lou's pic to buy the album now.
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