Did you know that the most famous carol in the world has Ukrainian origin?
“Carol of the Bells” is a popular Christmas carol composed by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych in 1914. The song is based on a Ukrainian folk chant called “Shchedryk”.
The English version of the song, ‘Carol of the Bells’, was adopted by a popular American composer, Peter J. Wilhousky, in 1921. In 1936, the musician copyrighted his new lyrics in English and the song has gained massive popularity in the United States.
The Ukrainian carol is based on traditional folk chant, which was considered to have magical properties. ‘Shchedryk’ is a derivative of Ukrainian word ‘shchedryi’, which means generous or bountiful. ‘Carol of the Bells’ doesn’t preserve it’s Ukrainian lyrics. The original Ukrainian song tells the story of a swallow flying into a household and saying to the house owner that the forthcoming year for him and his family will be prosperous and generous.
“Carol of the Bells” is a consistently gorgeous song, eminently worthy of inclusion in the holiday canon, with no end of beautiful variations on its iconic four-note loop.