Top 5 Ukrainian Old New Year carols (shchedrivky)

Carols or koliadky (коля́дки) and shchedrivky (щедрі́вки) 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.

Top 5 Ukrainian Old New Year carols (shchedrivky)

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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?

     1. “Shchedryk” (Ще́дрик)

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.

Top 5 Ukrainian Old New Year carols (shchedrivky)

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“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.

The part of the carol:

Shchedryk shchedryk shchedrivochka

a little swallow flew

began twittering

calling the master

 

“come out, come out, master,

look on the shelter to sheep,

sheep have yeaned

lambs were born

Read the lyrics in Ukrainian and the translation in English here.

 

  1. Ой сива́я та́я зозуле́нька Oi syvaia taia zozulenka 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.

The part of the carol:

Hey, the gray cuckoo,

Holy Night

bless all good people!

 

The cuckoo has visited all the gardens

Holy Night

bless all good people!

But one of the gardens she’s never visited

Holy Night

bless all good people!

Read the lyrics in Ukrainian and the translation in English here.

 

  1. Ста́рий рік мина́є Staryi rik mynaie The old year is passing

It is a joyful and humoristic carol where carolers ask the host to let them in and treat them with all kinds of goods: wheat with honey, horilka, and wine.

Top 5 Ukrainian Old New Year carols (shchedrivky)

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The old year now passes!

The old year now passes, the new year approaches,

The new year approaches 2x

 

Oh Lord, oh your lordship!

Oh Lord, oh your Lordship, oh great landlord,

Oh, great landlord! 2x

Read the lyrics in Ukrainian and the translation in English here.

 

  1. Пречи́стая ді́ва си́на породи́ла Prechystaia diva syna porodyla

The Holy Virgin bore a son

The carol tells the news of the birth of Christ, how Three Wise Men brought their gifts, and calls all people to bow to the Son of God to glorify him.

Top 5 Ukrainian Old New Year carols (shchedrivky)

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Read the carol in Ukrainian here.

These carolers are so cool:

 

  1. Бог ся рождає Boh sia rozhdaie God’s being born

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.

God’s being born, and who can understand this!

Jesus is his name, and Mary is his mother

Refrain:

Here the angels gaze at this,

The newborn child they all fear.

An ox there stands, trembling,

A donkey sadly pasturing.

Read the lyrics in Ukrainian and the translation in English here.

What carol did you like the most? Are there any carol songs in your country?

Share in the comments, please.

Our next article will be about the Old New Year. Don’t miss it!

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