Ritual songs



Like any folk songs, ritual songs do not have authors. Usually, these songs have pagan roots growing from the Kievan Rus. The ancient Slavs believed that everything in this world has a soul, and the world is inhabited by spirits and various mythical creatures. Ritual songs were intended to influence the spirits - to coax them for spirits “do not broke" the yield. Some songs urged spirits to help in any endeavor or in daily activities. These songs are closely linked not only to domestic but also to the calendar.

Depending on the time of year, people sang the so-called "maivkas" (The word “mai” on modern Ukr. translates as “traven”, and means “May”; mai-vka means “something that happens in May”), "vesnyankas" (Ukr. “vesna” means “Spring”) and "gaivkas" (Ukr. “gai” means “grove”). You can hear “kupalski pisni” during the celebration Ivan Kupala (midsummer). During the Trinity and so-called "Zelenі svyata" (Eng. “Green holidays”) you can hear "rusalnі pisni" (Eng. “Water nymphs’ songs”). Form late summer to mid-autumn over the fields flew "zhnyvarskі pisni" (Eng. “Harvesting songs”) in which people laud a rich harvest, praise a work of bakers, and rejoice in happy ending of the harvest season. And in the winter, during the solstice, the people drove dances around bonfires and sing so-called "sontsesyaynі pisni" (Eng. “Shining sun’s songs”): it was a joy because of new year came.

Over time, Christianity supplanted paganism in its pure form, so Orthodoxy appeared. The old ritual songs amend, supplement, rarely staying in the same form. The old gods obtained the names of the new Saints, but fabulous creatures have not gone away. In the Ukrainian song still live silvan (Ukr. “lisovyj”), water nymph (Ukr. “rusalka”), nixie (Ukr. “mavka”), Brownie (Ukr. “domovyj”) and other creatures of forests, rivers, lakes, houses and fields. With the advent of Christianity, the New Year was celebrated on the night of January 1 (Jan. 14 by the old style). People sang so-called "shchedrіvky" during the New Year. And during the Orthodox Christmas (7 January) there are “koljadky” (Eng. "Christmas Carols"). In addition, certain rituals are "off-season" in nature. For example, so-called "tsarynnі pisni" ("tsaryna" means "the edge of the village, a field outside the village"). The rites were performed both in spring and summer for warding off destructive forces of nature, evil, sickness and sorrow form fields, ponds, bee-keepings, houses and even entire villages. Such ceremonies are usually performed early in the morning. No less popular songs on Shrove Tuesday, which is also called by Ukrainians «Masnytsja», «Syrna nedіlja», “Masljana nedilja”, “Masljana”, «Kolodіy» etc. Ukrainian Shrove Tuesday lasts seven days, and each day was a mini-holiday - with its own songs, rites and cuisine. Holiday ends with another Orthodox holiday called "Forgiveness Sunday" (Ukr. “Proshchena nedilja”).


Ukrainian ritual songs are divided into tracks: winter, spring and summer cycles. Winter songs often tied to the wishes of health and happiness in the new year, praise the bakers’ work and slightly changed, though, Ukrainians celebrate New Year in winter, and not in March as ancient Slavs. Spring cycle begins in March and lasts until the end of spring field works. In the series included "vesnjankas" and round-dance games. “Rusalni pisni” conventionally attributed to them too (their time is of late spring till early summer): these songs praise the beauty of nature next to the mode of life and customs. Ukrainian "vesnjankas" got other names: "gahіlkas", "lagolajkas", "magіlkas", "yagіlkas", "ryndzіvkas", "galanіvkas", etc. The Slavs sang about the beauty of this time of year and "by words" prepared for spring field works. In addition, the ancestors of Ukrainians believe: the song helps nature to wake up and shine with new life. The summer cycle begins with the celebration of Ivan Kupala, and the songs on this holiday have not changed in hundreds of years! The story of these holiday songs mostly about love or they are humorous, satirical: the girls make fun of guys in the song, and the guys make fun of girls. "Kupalskі pisni" sung in the night from July 6 to July 7.
blog comments powered by Disqus

The coming holidays

The Nativity of the Virgin Mary or second-Pure

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the first pure, as they say), the Christian feast of the Orthodox Church is one of the twelve great Marian feasts, it ...


The Day of Chernihiv

Chernihiv city is considered one of the oldest in Ukraine. It is based in 907, before the christening of Kievan Rus. Since the exact date of its founding...


The Day of Poltava

Poltava citizens celebrate the Day of the city on September 23. The city was founded in 1174. Traditionally, the celebration is timed to the Day of Liber...


Read also