Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Christmas Eve Brings Joy and Hope for Better Days


On Tuesday, when Orthodox Christians all across the globe mark Christmas Eve, we talked to noted Russian guitarist Vitaly Kys and folklore singer Grunya. Last year, the couple brilliantly represented the Voice of Russia during the Eurofolk international music festival, which was held under the aegis of the European Broadcasting Union in Moscow.

The musicians kindly agreed to perform several Christmas folk songs from their new disc, released late last year. Now, Viktor Kys elaborated on what is Christmas personally for him. “Any church holiday, not least Christmas, brings me a deep and ever-lasting joy, something that fills my soul with emotions. These emotions are very important for everyone”, he said, emphasising that folklore is a major spiritual value that enriches a person’s soul.

The outgoing Year of Family in Russia saw the couple successfully fulfil both creative and personal plans with Vitaly and Grunya notably being busy with the upbringing of their three children. Today, this deeply-Orthodox family is marking what Grunya called a significant day for all Orthodox Christians.

She said, “Each year, we look forward to Christmas Eve, which coincides with the end of a protracted church fast, a rite that teaches people to love, forgive, and remain humble. Upon returning from church, typically, we start preparing special Christmas food, kutiya, or cooked grain and honey mix. Thanks to the holiday, we are in high spirits and full of optimism, which is especially important now that the unfolding economic gloom tarnished the New Year with turmoil.

Nowadays, many people prefer to greet Christmas near the TV screen. In contrast, in my childhood, I and my friends performed Christmas carols for their neighbours in their apartment house. Clad in traditional folk costumes, we knocked on each door and wished people ‘Merry Christmas’ from the bottom of our hearts. At first, the neighbours were naturally surprised to see us, only to heap praise on our performance in the end, traditionally presenting us with candies and other Christmas gifts. I am happy and proud by the realisation of the fact that I am able to sing songs that praise my motherland”.

6 January 2009

Tatiana Karpekina

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

Grunya is Russian and she speaks of singing traditional kolyadki. Unfortunately, some Ukrainian nationalists have spread the lie that these songs only exist in the Ukraine. That is sad, isn’t it, that a group so hates all other people that they cannot see when their neighbours do the exact same thing that they do? Reflect on the fact that the haters have the ear of Washington…


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