Somewhere in the XVII century, carols of Christian content – the so-called Christmas canticles, which have a book origin, spread in Ukraine. They were composed by teachers of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and distributed by church singers and deacons. In content, they are very different from the pre-Christian ones because they sing about the birth of Christ. They differ from traditional carols in their musical structure. Many were folklorized, took root in everyday life, and became part of our traditional culture.
Icon of the Nativity of Christ (from the festive row of the iconostasis), 18-19th century. Wood, oil, gilding. 54.1x41.9 cm
Christmas carol "After Christmas, after dinner", recorded by N. Kerimova in the village of Lypniazhka of Dobrovelichkiv district, Kirovohrad region, in the 1990s from the group: Denysenko Mariya Petrivna, Kyrychenko Yefrosyniya Havrylivna (1931 d.o.b), Korzynetsʹ Dariya Semenivna, Kovpan Mariya Petrivna, Kosyuh Mariya Ivanivna (1931 d.o.b), Kulish Pelaheya Oleksiyivna, Melʹnyk Lyubov Semenivna (1930 d.o.b), Myroshnychenko Natalka Tymofiyivna, Musiyenko Nadiya Andriyivna, Ohreba Vira Ivanivna (1942d.o.b), Ruban Polina Mykolayivna (1935 d.o.b).
Ukrainian Christmas is impossible to imagine without a vertep (portable puppet theater). Its appearance in Ukraine dates back to the beginning of the XVII century when the efforts of Hetman Petro Sahaidachny founded a fraternal school in Kyiv (which, by the way, later developed into the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy).
Its professors and students began to compose Christian carols and show the Christmas play "Vertep" – a puppet theater, the action of which took place in a small two-story house, with clearly separated heaven and earth. Traditional vertep has two parts: mysterious and secular, with national flavor. Over time, the vertep turned from a puppet theater into a live theatrical performance.
Шопка Музею Івана Гончара. Shopka (nativity scene) of the Ivan Honchar Museum. Painting by Polina Kanikovsʹka. Pronunciation — Viktor Kanikovʹskyy, Volodymyr Dovhan, Borys Denysevych.
Shopka is a kind of vertep, mostly a model of the Bethlehem stable, on the night of Christmas. The obligatory elements are the figures of Jesus Christ, the Mother of God, and St. Joseph; depending on the variations, there may also be shepherds, cattle, three kings, or other characters.
Icon of the Nativity of Jesus Christ, 19th – 20th centuries, Kharkiv. Wood, oil, 30.5 x 22 cm