The word “shchedrivky” comes from “shchedryi” (generous). The 13th of January is the so-called “Shchedryi vechir” (Ще́дрий ве́чір) – it’s a folk-religious holiday which is now celebrated as “Old New Year” in the Julian calendar. People wish the hosts joy, wealth, and a good harvest with shchedrivky carols.
What are the famous shchedrivky?
Of course, you all know “Carol of the Bells” that was a soundtrack in “Home alone”, “Harry Potter”, “Die Hard”, etc. Originally this song is called “Shchedryk”(Ще́дрик), and it’s a folk pre-Christian song that people sang in the spring. It was arranged by composer and teacher Mykola Leontovych in 1916 and tells a story of a swallow flying into a household to sing of wealth that will come with the following spring.
“Shchedryk” was later adapted as an English Christmas carol, “Carol of the Bells”, by Peter J. Wilhousky. Although “Carol of the Bells” and “Shchedryk” share the same melody, the lyrics of these two songs have nothing in common.
Ой сива́я та́я зозуле́нька Oisyvaiataiazozulenka The Gray Cuckoo
Before the 15th century, Slavs celebrated the New Year in April. That is why there are many spring symbols in shchedrivky, which were usually sung to greet spring. The cuckoo brings spring and has a key from the mythological vyrii (Slavic paradise).
This carol also glorifies the sun, the moon, and the stars and compare them with the hosts.
It isn’t a folk song. Ostap Nyzhankivskyi is the author of the lyrics and music. The song was created in the 19th century. The plot is about the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. Also, Mary, Joseph, angels, Three Wise Men with gifts, and the shepherds are mentioned in the carol.