Today is Orthodox Christmas, commonly called "Ukrainian Christmas" here on the prairies because of our large Ukrainian-Canadian population. To celebrate, I'm posting a video of a well-known seasonal carol composed in 1916 by the Ukrainian composer Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych. I'm sure you will recognize the tune right away!
Leontovych based the song on an ancient Ukrainian pagan chant called "Schedryk" which means "the Generous One." As the new year approaches, a swallow flies into a man's house and tells him that the upcoming year will bring him great wealth in the form of many lambs, much grain, lots of money and a beautiful wife. Here it is, sung in Ukrainian, by a choir in traditional dress:
The English language version is completely different. Because the music sounded like bells to an American choirmaster named Peter Wilhousky, he wrote new lyrics with a very traditional Christmas theme. In English, the song is usually known as "Carol of the Bells" or "Ukrainian Bell Carol."
Christmas blessings to all who celebrate today!