(Redirected from Kolyada)

Koliada or koleda (Cyrillic: коляда, коледа, колада, коледе) is the traditional Slavic name for the period from Christmas to Epiphany or, more generally, to Slavic Christmas-related rituals, some dating to pre-Christian times.[1]

Trutovsky Kolyadki.jpg
Колядки в Малороссии (Christmas Carols in Little Russia) by K. Trutovsky
Also calledKolyada, Коледа, Kоляда, Коледе, Kalėda, Colindă
Observed byEastern European, Balts and Slavic people
Significancecelebration of New Year birth
BeginsJanuary 6
EndsJanuary 7
DateDecember 25, January 7, January 6, December 24
Related toChristmas traditions, Eastern Orthodox liturgical days
Verteps parade. Lviv, Ukraine
Russian Christmas postcard. 1910s


The word is still used in modern Ukrainian ("Коляда", Kolyadá), Belarusian (Каляда, Kalada, Kaliada), Polish (Szczodre Gody kolęda [kɔˈlɛnda]), Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbo-Croatian (Коледа, Коледе, koleda), Lithuanian and Latvian (Kalėdos, Kalėda) and Czech, Slovak, Slovene (koleda).[2]

The word used in Old Church Slavonic language (Колѧда - Kolęnda) sounds closest to the current Polish language pronunciation, as Polish is one of two Slavic languages which retains the nasal vowels of the Proto-Slavic language (the other is closely related Kashubian). One theory states that Koliada is the name of a cycle of winter rituals stemming from the ancient calendae[3] as for example the Kalenda Proclamation.

In modern Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian (koliada), Czech, Slovak, Croatian (koleda), Kashubian (kòlãda [kwɛlãda]), Romanian (colindă) and Polish (kolęda [kɔˈlɛ̃da], Old Polish kolenda[4]) the meaning has shifted from Christmas itself to denoting the tradition of strolling, singing, and having fun on Christmas Eve, same in the Balkan Slavs. It specifically applies to children and teens who walk house to house greeting people, singing and sifting grain that denotes the best wishes and receiving candy and small money in return. The action is called kolyadovannya (Russian: Колядования) in Russian and is now applied to similar Old East Slavic celebrations of other old significant holidays, such as Generous Eve (Russian: Щедрый вечер, Belarusian: Шчодры вечар, Ukrainian: Щедрий вечiр) the evening before New Year's Day, as well as the celebration of the arrival of spring. Similarly in Bulgaria and North Macedonia, in the tradition of koleduvane (коледуване) or koledarenje (коледарење) around Christmas, groups of kids visiting houses, singing carols and receiving a gift at parting. The kids are called 'koledari' or rarely 'kolezhdani' who sing kolyadki (songs).

Koleda is also celebrated across northern Greece by the Slavic speakers of Greek Macedonia, in areas from Florina to Thessaloniki, where it is called Koleda (Κόλιντα, Κόλιαντα) or Koleda Babo (Κόλιντα Μπάμπω) which means "Koleda Grandmother" in Slavic. It is celebrated before Christmas by gathering in the village square and lighting a bonfire, followed by local Macedonian music and dancing.

Croatian composer Jakov Gotovac wrote in 1925 the composition "Koleda", which he called a "folk rite in five parts", for male choir and small orchestra (3 clarinets, 2 bassoons, timpani and drum). There is also a dance from Dubrovnik called "The Dubrovnik Koleda."

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ http://slovardalja.net/word.php?wordid=13520
  2. ^ "Koleda". Slovar slovenskega knjižnega jezika [Standard Slovene Dictionary]. Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts. 2000.
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference Encyclopedia of Ukraine was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ Biblioteka warszawska. 1858 s. 318, Materyały antropologiczno-archeologiczne i etnograficzne 1826 s. 186