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Через неделю после Коляды 31 декабря (13 января) отмечали Щедрый вечер (день христианской святой преподобной Мелании). Этот день называли Меланки. По традиции празднование сопровождалось обходом домов с пожеланием людям счастья, здоровья и благополучия в Новом Году. Щедровали тоже театрализованными группами: "Меланка" и "Василий" и "Ряженые". Если сравнить колядки и щедривки ("Щедрик, щедрик, щедривочка, прилетела ласточочка"), то в щедривках вспоминают ласточок, весну, сеяние ржи. Это свидетельствует о том, что древние славяне отмечали начало Нового Года весной.
As soon as Zorya rose in the sky, carolers went from house to house to inform people about the birth of the new Sun, and the image of this sun was carried with them ("Christmas star"). This tradition has survived to this day. They went into the yard, woke up the owner and sang majestic songs about the sun, moon, and stars to his family. These songs came to be called carols or carols.
In addition, in pre-Christian times, such events required a certain sacrifice. In ancient times, when human sacrifices had already been abandoned, it was necessary to sacrifice what was valuable to God. And cattle were valuable at that time. And thus we proceed to the rite of "driving the goat". That is, cattle were sacrificed, which was then replaced by baking cookies in the form of Christmas cattle. Why in ancient times carolers were associated with the afterlife At this time, the border between the worlds becomes so thin that there is a transition between them. It is also connected with honoring the dead. On the one hand, the dead were treated with tremendous respect and honor, as if they welcomed this transition. On the other hand, it is a little scary. We had to somehow protect ourselves from them.