5 Top Ukrainian Christmas carols (koliadky)

5 Top Ukrainian Christmas carols (koliadky)

Carols or koliadky and shchedrivky are the symbols of Christmas. Boys and girls prepare carols and verses they take from house to house in exchange for sweet gifts and tips.

The word “koliadky” comes from “calendar”. The calendar starts with the birth of Christ so koliadky we sing on Christmas.

What are the famous koliadky?

 

1. До́брий ве́чір то́бі, па́не господа́рю Dobryi vechir tobi pane hospodariu

Good evening to you, good host

It is the number 1 koliadka in Ukraine that is well known and sung all over the country.

The lyrics are great as an opening carol of carolers, who came to the house to bring Christmas cheer.

5 Top Ukrainian Christmas carols (koliadky)

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Read the beginning of the song:

Добрий вечір тобі, пане господарю, радуйся!
Ой радуйся, земле, Син Божий народився!

Застеляйте столи, та все килимами, радуйся!
Ой радуйся, земле, Син Божий народився!

Та кладіть калачі з ярої пшениці, радуйся!
Ой радуйся, земле, Син Божий народився!

A good evening onto you,

To you, Lord, your Lordship!

 

Now rejoice! Oh rejoice you earth,

The Son of God is now born!

 

Do lay out the tables

With your finest linens

 

Now rejoice! Oh rejoice you earth,

The Son of God is now born!

 

Do set out the kalachi,

Baked from the spring wheat,

 

Now rejoice! Oh rejoice you earth,

The Son of God is now born!

The rest of the song read here.

 

2. Но́ва ра́дість ста́ла Nova radist stala

A new joy has been revealed

 

This song has an easy melodic tune and cheerful lyrics.

Нова радість стала,

Яка не бувала,

 

Над вертепом звізда ясна

У весь світ засіяла.

 

Де Христос родився,

З Діви воплотився,

 

Як чоловік пеленами

Убого повився.

 

A new joy has been revealed,

That never has been before,

 

Above the manger there’s a bright star )

Shining throughout the whole world.)2x

 

Where Christ has been born,

From the Virgin he is born,

 

Like a man with diapers )

As a pauper’s swaddled. )2x

Read the rest of the lyrics here.

But during the 2nd World War, the lyrics of this song were changed into sad ones and named “Sad Holy Eve” (Сумни́й Святи́й ве́чір). Especially the sorrowful koliadky were popular in Halychyna. They are about the grief over Ukraine, deportation, and war sufferings.

 

3. Не́бо і зе́мля Nebo i Zemlia

Heaven and Earth

5 Top Ukrainian Christmas carols (koliadky)

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This carol tells about how Jesus Christ was born. Very similar songs exist in Belarus and Poland.

 

Небо і Земля (2) нині торжествують.

Ангели й люди (2) весело празнують.

 

Христос родився, Бог воплотився,

Ангели співають, царіє вітають,

 

Поклін віддають, пастиріє грають,

“Чудо, чудо!” – повідають. (2)

 

Heaven and earth (2) are, all now celebrating.

Angels and people (2) are, joyfully now feasting.

 

Christ has been born, God’s incarnated,

The angles are singing, Kings there do greet him,

Worship they do bring him, Shepherds are playing,

“Wonder, wonder!” – they’re proclaiming. (2)

The rest of the lyrics read here.

 

4. Народи́вся Бог на са́нях Narodyvsia Bohn a saniah

God Was Born On A Sleigh

 

This carol was taken from the lyrics of Ukrainian poet Bohdan Ihor-Antonych. He lived and died in western Ukraine under Polish control and grew up in the Lemko area of Ukraine.

In this poem the author imagines if Christ would be born in his native land.

 

Народився Бог на санях

В лемківськім містечку Дуклі.

 

Прийшли лемки у крисанях

І принесли місяць круглий.

 

God was born on a sleigh

In the lemko’s town Dukli

 

Lemkos came in their hats

And had brought the round Moon.

Read the rest of the song here.

 

5. Ти́ха ніч Tyha nich

Silent night

Yes, this song isn’t Ukrainian, but it’s very popular during the Christmas festivities. The Ukrainian translation is beautiful and tender.

 

Тиха ніч, свята ніч!

Ясність б’є від зірниць.

 

Дитинонька Пресвята,

Така ясна, мов зоря,

 

Спочиває тихо,

Тихо, в тихім сні.

 

Silent night, holy night,

Radiant from the stars above,

 

The little child, most holy and pure,

Is so bright, as if a star,

 

Sleeping there peacefully,

Quietly in quiet sleep.

Read the lyrics here.

 

What koliadka do you like the most? Share in the comments.

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