ancient ritual songs of the calendar cycle, widespread among Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Russians, and other peoples (the term vesnianki is of Ukrainian origin). They include “invocations of spring,” as well as a series of spring songs, games, and round dances. The peasantry timed the most ancient congratulatory vesnianki for Easter, and these were known as volochebnye songs, songs in praise of Easter and spring. The invocation vesnianki, which are characterized by the multiple repetition of tuneful phrases of a narrow range, constitute the basic form of all spring ritual songs of the Eastern Slavs. Among the Russian people they are not found everywhere. Having lost their former magical significance, the invocation vesnianki have survived as children’s songs. In some localities vesnianki survive as lyrical songs about the awakening of nature in spring. The melodies of vesnianki have been used many times in the works of Russian composers (such as Rimsky-Korsakov’s operas Christmas Eve and May Night and Tchaikovsky’s Concerto No. 1 for Piano).
I. I. ZEMTSOVSKII