Kolyada or koleda (Cyrillic: коляда, коледа, колада) is the original Slavic word for
Christmas, still used in modern Bulgarian, Macedonian and Serbian language(Коледа). Some suppose the word was borrowed the word from the Latin " calendae" [http://starling.rinet.ru/cgi-bin/response.cgi?root=%2Fusr%2Flocal%2Fshare%2Fstarling%2Fmorpho&morpho=1&basename=%5Cusr%5Clocal%5Cshare%5Cstarling%5Cmorpho%5Cvasmer%5Cvasmer&first=1&on_word=on&text_word=%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%BB%D1%8F%D0%B4%D0%B0&method_word=substring&on_general=on&text_general=&method_general=substring&on_origin=on&text_origin=&method_origin=substring&on_trubachev=on&text_trubachev=&method_trubachev=substring&on_editorial=on&text_editorial=&method_editorial=substring&on_pages=on&text_pages=&method_pages=substring&text_any=&method_any=substring&sort=word] ; compare " Kalends". Others believe it derived from "Kolo", "wheel", like "Yule" is an Anglo-Saxon word for wheel. Another speculation is that it derived from the Bulgarian/Macedonian word "коля/колам" (kolia/kolam), which means "to rip, to kill (a man), to cut animal for eating", or from the Serbian "коло, колодар" (kolo, kolodar). Some claim it was named after Kolyada, the Slavic god of winter [http://www.spellintime.fsnet.co.uk/Folklore_Section_Background.htm] .
In modern Ukrainian, Russian and Polish ("kolęda") 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 kolyadovanie and is now applied to similar Old East Slavic celebrations of other old significant holidays, such as "Generous Eve" ( _ua. Щедрий вечiр) the evening before New Year's Day, as well as the celebration of the arrival of spring. Similarly in Bulgariaand Macedonia, in the tradition of koleduvane (коледуване) or koledarenje (коледарење) around Christmas, groups of boys visiting houses, singing carols and receiving a gift at parting. The boys are called ' koledari' or rarely 'kolezhdani'.
Jakov Gotovacwrote in 1925 the composition "Koleda", which he called "a folk rite in five parts", for male choir and small orchestra (3 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, Timpaniand Drum).
Slavic Pagan Folk metal band Arkona has a song called Kolyada. http://www.myspace.com/arkonarussia
Colindă, a similar Romanian/ Moldovan tradition
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