Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Schedryk (Carol of the Bells)

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!

34 comments:

Snap said...

The Carol of the Bells is one of my favorite Christmas songs. I had no idea of its Ukrainian heritage. I've been enlightened! Thanks!

Jeanne said...

Interesting! I much prefer the original version. And the original clothing worn by the singers is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

Pickleope Von Pickleope said...

Happy Ukranian Christmas! I had no idea about any of this, and I love the song.

Francie M said...

Love the traditional garb but I have never seen those head covers. I always think of long ribbons and loose hair as part of the Ukrainian costume - but perhaps this was for winter? or church? Beautiful though. Lovely music, a rich heritage.

DEZMOND said...

Yep, the Russians and Serbs are also celebrating today, it's actually a non working day here in my country.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

this makes me want to be ukrainian and wear those outfits! i am polish but we always celebrated this second xmas when i was young.

mxtodis123 said...

Beautiful music. Thank you.

Laurie said...

merry christmas to all! Stay warm my friend, wear your long johns today, its frosty!

brandi said...

~Christmas blessing to each this day...always be a favorite of mine...beautiful! much love light and blessings~

Linda Wildenstein said...

Back to your old ways I see.....teaching me something I didn't know. I just love that. Oma Linda

The Happy Whisk said...

I am part Ukrainian but I don't celebrate on this day. But here's to staying warm.

Adam said...

Funny how the Eastern European branch of the church chose a different date from its western counterpart

Anne Johnson said...

A sparrow flew into my house one day, but it only entertained the cat for a few hours. When I heard the commotion, I set it free. Geez, you think it could have given me a buck or two?

jadedj said...

You astound me with your wealth of information. Seriously. Thank you.

Mary said...

Beautiful music! Thank you for this lesson in a cultural tradition i was unaware of. :)

Leeanna said...

I really love it when you enlighten us with your little snippits of history. Very entertaining at best. Please keep doing this.

Sparkless said...

Well you learn something new every day! Thanks for that tidbit of knowledge. Love both version of the song.

Bird said...

That is so beautiful Debra. It's also my all time favorite Christmas song. Thank you for sharing. I wasn't all that in the mood for Christmas on the 25th, but I'm finally getting there. Maybe I can claim the rest of this night as honorary Ukrainian Christmas here at our house. Bright blessings, Bird

Professor Chaos said...

I don't know why but I always find this song kind of spooky. Beautiful, but sorta scary. And the English lyrics about the bells always remind me of that Poe poem "the Bells." Sounds like someone being driven mad by the incessant ringing of bells. Merry Christmas, Ukraine!

Guillaume said...

Strange to listen to it after Christmas is for our Western culture gone. I wonder sometimes if there isn't a Christmas Day every day of the year, around the cultures of the world.

Willow said...

The Ukrainian version was so beautiful .
Thanks so much for sharing that.

Introverted Art said...

Very beautiful! I like the original version better too.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Very beautiful! Greeks are Christian Orthodox, too, and some of them also celebrate today. But the vast majority that emigrated now celebrate on the 25th of December. We had a church when I lived in Montreal that followed the old traditions like celebrating today with what we called 'the old calendar'. Very old world church. Women and men had to be on different sides of the church, and women were also not permitted to wear pants.

Magic Love Crow said...

Merry Christmas and Many Blessings ;o) You put a smile in my heart and in my mom's heart today ;o)

DWei said...

School started for me today. Yay....

Samantha Stephens said...

Beautiful! I didn't know of the original version, and even though I don't understand what they are saying, it sounds wonderful. Thanks for the history and music lesson.

Cheryl said...

I always learn something new from your posts. Carol of Bells is one of my very favorite Christmas carols and I had no idea of it's origin.
I loved the video of the Ukrainian choir. The women look beautiful in their traditional dresses.

Vanessa Morgan said...

I only knew the original version for some reason, but didn't know anything about its origins. Thank you for cultivating us ;-)

bobbybegood1 said...

Darn it! I can't hear the song, which I'm sure is lovely. Merry Christmas! Nice post. Cheers!!

My Grama's Soul said...

This is one of my favorite carols. Thanks for the info of where it originated.

Jo

Miss Val's Creations said...

So beautiful. The costumes are stunning. I never knew this tune had Ukrainian roots.

Fundy Blue said...

Hi Debra! This has always been one of my favorite carols, so thank you for sharing it in English and in Ukrainian! By the way, you had the best New Year's wishes I've seen this year! Right back at you!

Frostbite and Sunburn said...

I never knew the English version until last year when we learned it for our Christmas concert, so I definitely did not know of the Ukrainian heritage. Beautiful both ways!!

Tammy Theriault said...

I love any type of Christmas song so you hit it to me good!! miss ya girlie!