Abravanel, the Blog

Jewish life and not only in Greece / Εβραϊκή ζωή και όχι μόνο στην Ελλάδα

Un cavretico

Posted by Abravanel, the Blog στο 02/04/2007

Pessach is coming along and jews are preparing for the Seder, the traditional Pessach table where they read the Agada, the story of the exit from Egypt. One of the songs that accompanied my childhood’s Seders was a child song which all of the family sang and was called un cavretico, a small kiddy (κατσικάκι)* in djudeoespanol the language used by jews in Salonika before WW2. In fact I remember it so fondly that I tag all my djudeoespanol/ladino posts as «un cavretico». :D

It’s original name was Hagadia and it is unknown when it was first included in the Agada, though surely after the 15th century. In Thessaloniki it arrived rather late, probably in the mid 19th century and appears almost as an established novelty in the Etz Haim’s edition of 1904 where the typographer states: «Printed (the Agada) with nice characters and translations in djudeoespanol according to the traditions of our city, with a full Seder. We’ve also included the Hagadia poem». The origin of the poem is probably a western one since it resembles german folk songs but similar songs have appeared in the folkloric traditions in West and East alike. The whole idea around which evolves the song is that there is a judge and a judged one with the ultimate judge being God. Though many Christians and Jews have tried giving a historical, philosophical or even metaphysical meanings to this song, most probably it’s intents were far less presumptuous; seen it’s utter lack of connection with the Pessach theme was probably inserted to help kids stay awake with something interesting during the whole Seder!

The images that follow derive from the 1970 edition of Agada produced by the Jewish Comunity of Thessaloniki and include the notes, the lyrics in djudeoespanol and in greek. The brief historical data derive also from there .

*thanks to angelos for the translation!

lyrics-gr lyrics-dj notes

(Click the images to see their larger versions & since I don’t know how the copyright works I kindly ask not to re-distributate them ;) ).

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