Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas ritual song

(Bulgarian readers can read this post here.)

When one is studying the mythologies of the Old Continent, he can mark Slavic lands as a giant black hole. Because Slavs had no alphabet before Christianization, and after it did not care to write down their old beliefs and legends. I suppose that this sad omission was due not so much to religious zealotry as to plain laziness and carelessness.

However, we can safely assume that Pagan Slavs worshiped the Sun. Traces of this can be found in the following Christmas tropar (ritual song):

We wrote the notes together with my father, who knows the melody from his father. The lyrics can be found also at the official site of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Its original text is in old Bulgarian, usually called "Old Church Slavonic" so that not to offend sensitivities of non-Bulgarian Slavs and other people. Here is a translation:

Your birth, Christ our God,
illuminated the world with the light of reason,
because with it a star taught star worshipers
to worship You, Sun of truth,
and to know You from the height of the East.
God, glory to You!

We see that the image of Christ fuses with that of the Sun rising again after the winter solstice.

The church recommends singing this song on Christmas. My grandfather did something else: on Christmas Eve he was singing it and making a tour around the house with an incense-burner in hand in order to chase any evil spirits away. Doesn't matter, merry Christmas to everyone and celebrate as you wish!

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