Abravanel, the Blog

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

Un cavretico (republished)

Posted by Abravanel, the Blog στο 19/04/2008

Today at sunset we are going to celebrate Pessach and on this occasion I’m republishing a folk song that I sang and continue to sing today during the Sheder, the name for the jewish easter table. It’s «Un cavretico», (ie «a small lamb»). Take a look at the photos with the lyrics and the melody since to my knowledge this doesn’t exist anywhere on the web. :)

Hag Shameach και Καλό Πέσσαχ σε όλους μας!

ps. My compliments to the Jewish Community of Athens for producing a new Haggada this year in greek, ladino and hebrew (in greek and hebrew characters). Much more appealing than the old one and a beautiful job overall.

Un Cavretico…

Pessach is coming along and jews are preparing for the Seder, the traditional Pessach table where they read the Haggada, 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, (see comments below)!

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 ;) ).

6 Σχόλια προς “Un cavretico (republished)”

  1. Angelos said

    Had gadia, isn´t it? And doesn˙t cavretico mean a kiddy (κατσικάκι) rather than a small lamb? – Please forgive my pedantry, I am a translator by trade…

  2. Abravanel said

    By all means, you are absolutely correct on the translation issues and I thank you for the remark; I simply didn’t know how to translate κατσικάκι so I took my by best shot, (gonna correct it now). On the Had Gadia I do not know, djudio is not castillian and maybe that is the correct way. In the 1970 edition of the Agada it says Hagadia as I put it so I’ll leave it this way, still thanks. :)

  3. Linda said

    Thanks for the lyrics to Un Cavretico, I really appreciated it for last night’s seder. Can you recommend any really good Jewish Greek music? I am in an International Jewish music group (Kol Shira» and would love to learn some nice Greek songs. You can see some performance videos on youtube if you want to check us out. Thanks.

  4. Abravanel said

    There is – I have your email and will get back at you both here and through email as soon as I can.

  5. someone said

    In the meantime http://bit.ly/aquKGr

  6. I thought this would interest you: http://jewishstudies.washington.edu/sephardic-studies/had-gadya-ladino-passover/

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