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special events – Russian Harvest

Zhatva – Russian Harvest songs

Zhatva (Harvest) is an old Russian sequence of rituals marking the main parts the harvest. In early times it had magical associations. In the end of the harvest, during Dozhinki, the last sheaf, formed from ears cut by all the reapers and intertwined with flowers or dressed in woman’s clothes, was solemnly carried into the village or left in the field until the next harvest. Joyful songs accompanied these rituals: work songs at the beginning of harvest (Zazhynky) and the celebration at its completion (Obzhynky).. These songs bring the summer period to an end.
Polina Skovoroda introduces Zhatva songs as well as other songs from the Russians’ life and soul. These songs tell about the history of this people, describe the landscape, the folk’s character and the people’s qualities. They also speak about the ethics and rules of social life.

The audience is invited to join in singing ritual songs to influence the weather, other songs of the summer and autumn folk calender, laments, lyric and family songs, circle dance songs.

Luton Hoo Walled Gardens, Harvest evening

Polina Shepherd by Polina Shepherd