"You still managed to survive. This is your strength." - these were the words Vasyl Stus said when he met carolers in 1972.
Why do we start from the seventies when talking about the ancient tradition of caroling and the Christmas holiday?
Because it was this year in Kyiv and Lviv when the KGB arrested 19 participants of the Christmas caroling, among whom were representatives of the Ukrainian intelligentsia. Dissident youth resisted the policy of eradicating Ukrainian national traditions.
And they succeeded. After all, during a full-scale war, when the enemy always has the same face, Ukraine is fighting. Nevertheless, it continues the customs of the ancestors. Courageously defends its borders, from geographical to cultural.
Our memory cannot be erased.
The Museum of Ivan Honchar tells us that a few thousand years ago, during this winter time, our ancestors celebrated the birth of the world and the sun - Christmas. A myth about a time when "there was neither heaven nor earth", and there was no time but only the "blue sea" and a tree in the middle of it. According to researchers' deductions, the word "carol" comes from the word "circle", that is, from the shape of the sun. Around the 17th century, carols with Christian content began to spread in Ukraine - the so-called Christmas carols with a literary origin. They were compiled and distributed by church members. Thank them. Their content differs from pre-Christian ones because they sing about the Birth of Christ.
The most ancient meaning of Christmas is the connection with "times of old", that is, with ancestors.
It is believed that carolers voice the requests to the ancestors. Carolers are guides. That's why there was always a threshold between them as guests and hosts to whom they visited.
The so-called Soviet authorities paid the most attention to the fact that people stopped celebrating Christmas, but most Ukrainians secretly celebrated Christmas. By design, the Soviet New Year was supposed to replace the Christmas holidays overtime completely.
But this did not happen. After all, people, artists, and even Ukrainian brands spread and continue national traditions.
You still managed to survive. This is your strength. Stus told that to the carolers in 1972, and we hear him everywhere today.
The SchukaRyba band performs:
"Virgin Mary was standing on a stone" - Poltava region, Zinkivsky district, Bobrivnyk village
From the album "Rejoice, earth...Traditional carols and gifts of the Poltava region" (2002)
Materials of the folklore expeditions of 1991-2001 from the phono-archive of Tetyana Sopilka