There is a very interesting Serbian (And Bulgarian) Koledar song which starts like this:
"Замучи се божја мајка,
Од Игњата до бадњака,
Да роди Божића"
"Замъчи се Божа̀ майка,
от Игнажден до Коледа,
да си роди Млада Бо̀га."
"God's mother laboured
From St Ignatius to Christmas (Koleda)
To give birth to Young God"
Koledari are traditional Slavic carol singers who went from house to house during Koleda (Originally Winter Solstice, bot now Christmas) singing ritual songs celebrating the immanent brith of the new god (once new Sun God, now Son of God)...
I talked about one of these traditional Serbian Winter Solstice songs in my post "Young God".
Here I would like to talk about the reason why in Serbia, Koledari went out and sang their songs 5 days before Christmas...
The reason why Koleda, the day that marks the end of "kolo" (wheel), the end of solar wheel, the end of solar year is marked 5 days before Christmas (25th of December) is simple: it is the 20th of December, the Winter Solstice eve. Right? I don't think so. That's too simple 🙂...
In the mind of Serbian peasants, Christmas was Winter Solstice day and Christmas Eve was The Eve of Winter Solstice. So why did they then sing Koleda songs five days before Christmas?
To understand this, we need to understand how our ancestors measured time. They used days, moons and suns. The Moon takes 27.3 days to orbit Earth, but the period from full moon to full moon is 29.5 days. Or approximately 30 whole days.
Year has full 12 moons. The last full moon of the solar year ends on the 30X12=360th day. What is left are 5 "extra" days. Five days which lay outside of the "calendar" (koledar?). Five "dead days" as they are called in Serbia.
Which is why the mother of god goes into labour on that day, labours for 5 days, and only gives birth to the new Sun God (Son of God), new solar year, on Christmas (Winter solstice) day.
I talked about this in my post "Calendar".
What is interesting is that in Bulgaria, this day, the end of the last full moon, 20th of December, is called "Nov Dan" (New Day) and all the rituals performed on this day are the rituals related to the beginning of the new year, the birth of new sun...This is the day when the first footer ceremony is performed, the ceremony which is in Serbia performed on Christmas Day. I talk about this ceremony in my post "First footer".
Bulgarians count the "dead days" from that day and call them "dirty days"...I think that this is later change. Normal counting of time would start on winter solstice, would go through 12 moons X 30 days each, and would end 5 days before new winter solstice...
I talked about the yule fire ceremonies in Serbia in my post "Badnjak".
Another funny thing about St Ignatius is that he is also known as "Ignátios ho Theophóros" (God bearer, God carrier). In Serbia they say "because he carried god across frozen river". Which is very good description of what happens during sun's winter journeying through 5 dead days outside of calendar. St Ignatius (20th of December) comes before Winter Solstice (25th of December). It and symbolically "holds the new baby god" in his hands. Interestingly Christianity inverted this into "When Ignatius was a kid, Christ held him in his hands and blessed him". Which makes no sense.
But what is most interesting is what you get when you put the two St Ignatius's nicknames together:
God bearer = Fire bearer...
As I said in my post "Young God", the young god whose birth Serbs celebrate in their Koledar songs is Svarožić. Svarožić, whose name means "young fire". This "young fire" is the fire of the sun, which is rekindled on the day of the winter solstice, the day when the new sun is born and the new solar year, new "kolo" starts...
St Ignatius who is both "God bearer" and "Fire bearer" is just another pointer to the true identity of the Young god who is born on "Christmas" (Winter Solstice) day: New sun...
This is all of course just a coincidence...