She is responsible for the ancient traditional winter festival KOLEDA. Her origins are lost in ancient obscurity which we have not managed to penetrate. Nowadays she has been utterly engulfed by the festival which bears her name. Occasionally she is referenced as a male but there is little proof either way. Even her name is the subject of speculation but it most likely means ‘wheel’ or ‘circle’. Her exact name and nature varies from country to country, but she’s an ancient winter deity of rebirth who is celebrated at the end of the year. (For example, in Poland she was originally known as Kolyada, a Sun Goddess symbolizing the wheel of time.)
She has a celebratory feast day on 24th December which involves carol-singing, dancing, bonhomie and festive dressing up. It’s always good to have a choice.
Everybody seems to have had so much fun partying that they forgot to pay her any attention. Perhaps at one time she was an important goddess but it seems her festival became far more important than her. She became little more than a personification of the winter holidays. In some traditions she represents the sun’s cycle from one year to the next. And in others she doesn’t. There is even speculation that she may be named after the Roman Kalends, which would surely make her a deity of Calendars. Very useful.
Whatever her exact origins, KOLJADA’s winter festival was popular long before Christianity came along to gatecrash the party and borrow her ideas. So raise a glass to KOLJADA the next time Christmas rolls around.