What songs were performed in Russia during Christmas?

In 1979, the Union of Composers of the Soviet Union organized a unique concert attended by amateur bands from all over the country. They sang songs that were passed down through the centuries from generation to generation and were of interest to researchers. For the first time a female group from the village of Kupino in Belgorod region performed on a big stage the old Russian Christmas song “Christmas carol-karaselka”, which later became a popular hit thanks to the band “Ivan Kupala.” But this song was not the only discovery of that musical event.

The song “Christmas carol” by the band “Ivan Kupala”, which used the original recording of the song “Christmas carol-karaselka” by a group from the village of Kupino. By the way, “karaselka” means “beauty”.

Russian Christmas Songs Photo Lead singer of Ivan KupalaLead singer of “Ivan Kupala”

What are Christmas Carols?

Christmas carols “kolyadki” were forbidden by the church as songs of a pagan character.  The ancient Slavs used the word “kolyadki” to refer to ancient rituals associated with the beginning of a month or something new. Over time “kolyada” became the word for the Christmas Eve, and the songs that were performed during that time were called “kolyadki” – Christmas carols.

Kolyadki were performed by youth groups that during Christmas Eve walked around neighboring houses to congratulate people with the holidays. In turn, house tried to thank the young singing kolyadki the best possible way. It was believed that the welfare of the family in the coming year depended on how generously they thanked the singers.

The tradition of kolyadki and Christmas carols performed by children’s choir

Christmas “Vinograd’e” Songs

For a long time, Russian ethnographers associated special Russian Christmas songs, “Vinograd’e” exclusively with the peoples inhabiting the Russian north. However, it is possible that Christmas song-vinograd’e previously used to exist not only in northern regions, but also in other regions of Russia and the regions of Ukraine adjacent to Russia. Moreover, it turned out that vinograd’e songs were performed not only during Christmas, but also for other holidays. They, unlike Christmas kolaydki, expressed not holiday greetings, but glorification of the owners, often young. That is why vinograd’e songs were often sang at weddings as well.

Music band “Yuroma”, Arkhangelsk region. Vinograd’e 


фото-фотобанк Лори


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