Traditional Carols Ring in the Ukrainian New Year

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It’s one of the most ancient Ukrainian traditions. The voices of carol singers can be heard from the beginning of December until Easter all over Ukraine. The songs are about nature’s mysteries and New Year’s wishes.

[Galina Kuchinskaya, "Ordana" Choir Singer]:

“With the beginning of the New Year, children come and sing carols. The songs ask mother nature to provide enough food for the upcoming year.”

The tradition “Carols in Ukraine,” date back to a time before Christianity, where songs were sung to help the native people deal with the bitter winter solstice.

The oldest New Year songs were sung about the sacred bees. They were considered to be holy creatures from ancient times.

[Anya Voznyak, "Ordana" Choir Singer]:
“In people's subconscious, everyone hopes to bring a sense of happiness. The bees, which represented life and sweetness for us, are a symbol of this.”

[Оksana But, Buttya Group Director]:
“Ancient people were captivated by these small flying creatures, which would meticulously wake up every morning to gather Farina and nectar on their feet. This would be later used to make honey. They were also surprised by the structural order inside the beehive, which was both clean and organized.”

On top of bee and honey themes, the caroling tradition also praised the birth of light, the sun as well as everyday staples such as bread.

The country’s children would travel door to door, caroling and asking for money and sweets. The New Year traditions have now mostly changed, but the caroling can still sometimes be heard across the country today.

NTD, Кyiv, Ukraine

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