Zvizda - The Caroler's Star

During Rizdvo (Christmas time), a zvizda (star) is carried by the kolyadnyky (carolers) as they go from house to house, singing kolyady (Christmas carols).  The styles and designs of these stars varies from region to region.  Some are 6-pointed, some are 7-pointed, and some are 8-pointed.  Some have a candle in the back, backlighting a Nativity scene on a card in the front.  Some spin.  Some have a holy image painted on the front.  Some just have painted designs.  Some have a vertep (the Nativity scene with figurines) mounted in them.  Within the rhyme and reason of the season, pretty much anything goes.

[  Front view of zvizda (star)  ][  Back view of zvizda (star)  ]


A couple of years ago, I decided to make my own zvizda.  After several trials, I came up with an eight armed design that was pleasing to the eye.  I found some scrap masonite, laid out the design, and cut out two eight armed zvizdy.  Taking some leftover foamcore board, I traced the zvizda on that, and cut a zvizda out of that as well.  Then, I glued the foamcore between the two pieces of masonite.  This resulted in a zvizda that was about 12 inches across from tip to tip, and about three quarters of an inch thick.  The foamcore made it light, and the masonite faces made it durable and provided a nice flat surface.  I glued strips of tyvek around the edges, and sheets of tyvek on the two faces.  This gave me a smooth, yet very durable, surface to which I could then glue the decorations for the zvizda. For the decoratives, I picked papers that were shiny, glowing, and colorful.  These included several papers with holographic patterns on them

I started by gluing a deep red metallic paper around the edges of the zvizda.  This paper extended over the edges and onto the front and back faces of the zvizda.  This gave the zvizda a nice deep red outline or shadowed effect.  Next came the decorations for the back and front faces of the zvizda.

For the back face (the right image), I cut an eight pointed design out of a deep blue metallic paper, and pasted that on the face.  I made sure that this blue paper design was slightly smaller than the face, so the red edges would show.  On top of the blue paper I glued a smaller design cut out of silvery paper, with cutouts to show off the blue background.  Finally, in the middle of the silver paper, I added a holographic spiral which "moved".

For the front face (the left image), I cut out a eight pointed design out of shiny golden paper, and pasted that on the face.  Again, this gold paper design was cut slightly smaller than the face to allow the red edges to show.  Next came a cutout from that deep blue metallic paper, again with the patterns cut out to show off the gold background.  To make the front face "livelier", I pasted some of those "moving" holographic spirals behind the cutouts in the deep blue paper.  To finish off the front face, I added an image of the Angel Gabriel, which I cut out of some card.

To complete the decorations on the zvizda, I made small holes at the ends of the five lower arms.  Through these holes, I tied dark red, bright red, and orange ribbons, about a quarter inch wide, and in lengths of about 24 inches.  On each of these five arms, I also tied a string with two or three dzvinochky (jingle bells).  The ribbons sway when the zvizda is moved, making it look rather comet-like, and the dzvinochky make a pleasant sound.  I then attached the zvizda to a broom stick so it could be carried.

I hope that this brief description of how I made my zvizda inspires you to make your own.  Since making it, this zvizda has gone "kolyaduvaty" in New York City, been to several Svyati Vecheri (Christmas Eve Holy Supper), and at a Svichechka (caroling) in Boston and Hartford.  May your zvizda travel far and spread it's cheer!

I-)  Ihor



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