Kolyada

The beginning of a new kolo (old Slavonic word for “circle”) is Kolyada, the celebration of the newborn sun, the beginning of the new solar circle for all those who survived the longest night of the year. The whole world has completed one round and has entered another. The most severe colds are yet to come, but the day has already begun to increase! The sun is alive, it will not die, winter and night have not frozen it!

The Slavs rejoice at the newborn sun, dress up for celebration, walk around the houses with a self-made sun on a stick – they carry blessings to every house.

It’s time for a new project

It’s time for a new project… about something important, not subjected to the passing trends of time, deeply rooted in every Slavic soul…

We got lucky to get Alexander Budnik, who is not just a spectacular artist with hundreds of illustrations about Slavic history and mythology, but he also happens to be an early Middle Ages reenactor, who knows tons about ancient ways of our ancestors. Many books and magazines proudly feature his pictures, and now his works will be in our new publication.

Stay tuned for the news!

Slavic ritual of postrizhiny – the final part

During the postrizhiny ceremony Slovenians would hold the first cut hair high in their hand, Macedonians would place them in a sieve. In some Slavic regions locks of hair have to be destroyed or got rid of. For example, Slovaks, Belarusians and Ukrainians toss them into a fire or into a stove. Belarusians would say these words: “Valosiki gari, a galava ne bali” (Hair is on fire, but no headache). Sometimes the hair is thrown into the river or buried under a fruit tree. It is believed that the “ancestral” hair should not get to the birds. Slavs believe that if the birds weave that hair into the nest, the child will suffer from headaches.

In some other Slavic traditions, it was forbidden to destroy the trimmed hair. The first cut locks were kept by the Serbs in the house, in a special box with beeswax, Russians kept them in a flour sieve, Bulgarians – under a child’s pillow.

Actions with cut locks could depend on the gender of the child. Belarusians could put the boy’s hair in a barn for oxen, and Bulgarians buried it under a pear tree. The first hair locks of girls in Belarus were also thrown into a loom, and in Bulgaria and the Brest region they were buried under a willow, apple tree, cherry tree, or under a rose bush.

Do you know what was done with your first cut hair?

More interesting facts can be found in: “Slavic Antiquities” – encyclopedic dictionary in 5 volumes by Institute for Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Artist: Magdalena Szynkarczuk https://facebook.com/MagdalenaSzynkarczukArt

Caroling (kolyada) is an old Slavic ritual

Caroling (kolyada, koleda) is an old Slavic ritual timed to the period after winter solstice and before the new year. A group of participants visits neighboring houses, performs songs and chants good wishes addressed to the owners of each house – for which they receive various gifts.

In the Eastern Slavic calendar rituals, such as Kolyada and Maslennitsa, there is always a character dressed like a goat or with a goat mask. The attributes of the masked goat are usually a fur coat turned inside out, a wooden head with horns, a straw (or vine) beard and sometimes a moving lower jaw.

The goat in Slavic tradition is a symbol and stimulator of fertility. At the same time, it is considered an animal of demonic nature; acts as a representation of evil spirits and at the same time as a guardian from them.

The core of the eastern Slavic new year ritual of “walking a goat” is a song with a chorus “Oh-ho, goat”, where a story of the future harvest is told in “exaggerated manner” (“where the goat walks, it will give birth there”, “where the goat has a horn, there is a harvest “,” where a goat has a tail, there is bread “and the like). The song is accompanied by a dance, the central moment of which is the “dying” and “resurrection” of the Goat, which symbolizes the cycle of time and the rebirth of nature.

Source: “Slavic mythology. Encyclopedic Dictionary “, 2019 // Institute of Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Drawing by L. S. Lenchevsky and T. N. Safonovsky to the ethnographic description of the “Goat” ritual in 1926 (the village of Kuncha, Ukraine). The caption under the picture lists the characters: 1) Straw grandfather, 2) Goat, 3) Judge, 4) Turk, 5) Cossack, 6) Doctor, 7) Gypsy, 8) Woman with a child