Friday, December 31, 2010

St. Basil's Hymn

From the Monastery of Panagia Ypseni...

St. Basil comes and passes by
He overlooks us, I know not why
He comes from Caesara Town
Mistress bring, mistress, bring, mistress, bring us something down

He carries pen and paper white
And sugar candies, sweet and bright
He brings his pen and ink for writing
You should see, you should see, you should see me in the fighting

The pen, it jumped up with one bound
And on the paper scribbled round
And then the paper started speaking
Yes, we swear, yes, we swear that the paper started speaking

The paper said, “Tis New Year’s Eve!
Oh, Mistress fair, I beg your leave;
Joy be your lot the whole year round
May your house, may your house, may your house be holy ground!”

“The New Year follows on Christ’s birth
So holy Christ who walks the earth
May bless you, every girl and boy
And fill all, and fill all—and fill all your hearts with joy!”


  1. Do you know of a sung version of this either in Greek or English? This tune seems to have become well-known in the US due to George Winston's album "December". He has a song titled "Night Pt. 3, Minstrels". Winston, in turn, picked up the tune from a hammered dulcimer player named Malcolm Danglish on his album "Thunderhead". I am wondering how faithful their versions are to the original tune and I would like to hear the original Greek folk melody sung by someone familiar with it.

  2. I did a quick search and couldn't find it. I'll put the question out to the Greek speaking network. :)

  3. Ask and ye shall receive! The Greek network came through.

  4. We have sheet music for this, both Byzantine and European. We will add a link early in the new year.

  5. Here's a very clear history:

    Here's another: ( and then watch the 'new years' video on the page.)

    My favorite version:

    Translated original lyrics:

    It’s the beginning of the month, beginning of the year
    High incense tree
    Beginning of my good year
    Church with the Holy Seat

    It’s the beginning of our Christ
    Saint and spiritual
    He got out to walk on earth
    And to welcome us

    St. Basil is coming
    From Caesaria
    And doesn’t want to deal with us
    May you long live, my lady
    He holds (St. Basil) an icon and a piece of paper
    With the picture of Christ our Savior
    A piece of paper and a quill
    Please look at me, the young man.

  6. Thank you for your kindness in presenting this beautiful carol to St. Basil the Great on his feast day. I had heard it many years ago, in the hammered dulcimer version of Malcolm Dalglish, but until today I had never heard the original song.

    If sheet music of this is available, I would very much be interested in obtaining a copy.