Koliada was a pre-Christian winter festival later incorporated into Christmas. On the night from 6th to 7th January (Orthodox Christmas) evil spirit were believed to be active. People disguised and strolled from house to house with songs asking hosts for food. Also people used to tell fortunes on this night.
As a fellow Slavic person (more specifically Slovak) I’d like to introduce you to the beauty of Slavic history. I see loads of rps that are based on mythology but let’s be real: 99.9% of your mythology rps or mythology plots are about Greek mythology and even though I completely love the fact any kind of mythology is getting more and more recognition it sucks to see other cultures forgotten and overlooked. So I thought I would list the gods and goddesses for you to use instead of overusing Greek ones.
Note: Slavs are members of a group of people in central and eastern Europe speaking Slavic languages and Slavic countries are Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Serbia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Belarus, Croatia, Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro.
Konstiantyn Trutovsky “Christmas Carols in Little Russia”
Koliada or koleda is an ancient pre-Christian winter ritual/festival. It was later incorporated into Christmas. The word is still used in modern Belarusian (Каляда, Kalada, Kalyada), Russian (Коляда, Kolyada), Polish (kolęda),Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian (Коледа, Коледе) and Bosnian, Croatian, Czech, Slovak, Slovene (koleda), and Greek: Κόλιαντα (Kolianda). One theory states that Koliada is the name of a cycle of winter rituals stemming from the ancient calendae. Others believe it derived from Kolo, “round dance”. Another speculation is that it derived from the Bulgarian/Macedonian word “коля/колам” (kolia/kolam), which means “to slaughter”, possibly referring to the preparation of the Christmas feast, or to the Massacre of the Innocents. Some claim it was named after Kolyada, the Slavic god of winter or Koliada, the goddess who brings up a new sun every day. In modern Ukrainian, Russian (koliada), Czech, Croatian (koleda), Kashubian kòlãda, Romanian (colindă) and Polish (kolęda, Old Polish kolenda) 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 in Ukrainian and is now applied to similar Old East Slavic celebrations of other old significant holidays, such as Generous Eve (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 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’ who sing kolyadka (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 or Koleda Babo 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.
Origins: The ancient god of the underworld Veles was known to regularly send spirits of the dead into the living world as his heralds. Festivals in his honour were held near the end of the year, in Winter, when time was coming to the very end of world order, chaos was growing stronger, the borders between worlds of living and dead were fading, and ancestral spirits would return amongst the living. This ancient celebration of Velja noc (Great Night) still persists in folk customs of Koleda, which can happen anywhere from Christmas up to end of February. In pre-Christian Croatia, “koleda” was a celebration of death and rebirth at the end of December in honour of the sun and god - Dažbog, whose power once more begins to increase in those days. Krijes, meaning bonfire in Croatian, is another festival honouring the sun, during the summer at the time of his greatest strength; a celebration for good harvest.
Kupala Night, also known as Ivan Kupala Day; Russian: Иван-Купала; Belarusian:Купалле; Ukrainian: Іван Купала; Polish: Noc Kupały), is celebrated in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, and Russia currently on the night of 23/24 June in the Gregorian or New Style calendar, which is 6/7 July in the Julian or Old Style calendar still used by many Orthodox Churches. Calendar-wise, it is opposite to the winter holiday Koliada. The celebration relates to the summer solstice when nights are the shortest and includes a number of Slavic rituals.
Many of the rites related to this holiday within Slavic religious beliefs, due to the ancient Kupala rites, are connected with the role of water in fertility and ritual purification.
On Kupala day, young people jump over the flames of bonfires in a ritual test of bravery and faith. The failure of a couple in love to complete the jump while holding hands is asign of their destined separation.
Girls may float wreaths of flowers (often lit with candles) on rivers, and would attempt to gain foresight into their relationship fortunes from the flow patterns of the flowers on the river. Men may attempt to capture the wreaths, in the hope of capturing the interest of the woman who floated the wreath.There is an ancient Kupala belief that the eve of Ivan Kupala is the only time of the year when ferns bloom. Prosperity, luck, discernment and power would befall on whoever finds a fern flower. Therefore, on that night, village folk would roam through the forests in search of magical herbs and especially the elusive fern flower.Traditionally, unmarried women, signified by the garlands on their hair, are the first to enter the forest. They are followed by young men. Therefore, the quest to find herbs and the fern flower may lead to the blooming of relationships between pairs of men and women within the forest.It is to be noted, however, that ferns are not angiosperms (flowering plants), and instead reproduce by spores; they cannot flower. // wikipedia
Readers! Soon will be Kupala Night in Szczecin, so for sure, I will take for you a lot of photos! :)
Sirin and Alkonost. Birds of joy and sorrow by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1896
Alkonost and Sirin are creatures from Slavic folklore. Alongside with Gamayun, another bird-maiden, they play a significant role in Russian mythos. Their main duty is to ward the Tree of Life. They’re commonly believed to be a fusion of Greek legends, Pagan Slavic folk tales and Christian lore.
Sirin was initially based on Greek sirens, with possible addition of traits characteristic of Slavic water spirits, in particular that of wila. However, she later assumed more positive features, becoming a symbol of harmony, joy and beauty. Sirin descends into world of mortals, singing of incoming happiness. Even in later legends her voice is enticing to the point of being dangerous to humans and Siren can be associated with treachery, insanity and temptation. As bird-maiden is sensitive to loud noises, people would save themselves from her hypnotic song by ringing bells and shooting cannons.
Alkonost is possibly named after Alcyone, a Greek demigoddess transformed into a kingfisher. Her voice possess the same bewitching capacity as that of her sister. Alkonost is typically associated with Hors, the god of sun. Sometimes called the bird of dawn, she brings winds and lightnings on her wings. It is believed that on Koliada (a holiday in the middle of winter) Alkonost lays eggs on the seashore. For seven days after that sets good weather.
One of the most comforting things I heard growing up as a self-hating lesbian in a conservative region was that my sexuality was not harmful. Being gay does not hurt other people. Not being attracted to the opposite sex does not ruin lives. By being gay, you do not cause pain to your loved ones, you do not bring shame to your family, you do not burden those around you. Only hate causes destruction. Your love is a beautiful and harmless thing to be cherished.
“The ancient god of the underworld Veles was known to regularly send spirits of the dead into the living world as his heralds. Festivals in his honour were held near the end of the year, in Winter, when time was coming to the very end of world order, chaos was growing stronger, the borders between worlds of living and dead were fading, and ancestral spirits would return amongst the living.”