Karahod (LKT)

This entry is part of the Lexicon of Klezmer Terminology (LKT). The LKT compiles a wide array of source materials that shed light on the historical and contemporary state of knowledge about klezmer music. Each entry includes a number of citations from primary and secondary sources that include or refer to the term in question. It also indicates whether musical notation or sound recordings are included in the source. By clicking on the bibliographic hyperlink at the end of each citation, you get the full reference.


“Was the frejlaxs known under different names in various locales: frejlaxs, hopke, skočne, karahod, redl, drejdl, kajlexikes, rikudl, etc.? What did they call it in your area?” Beregovski 1937 [= Beregovski/Slobin 1982, p. 546]

Karahod.” Beregovski/Goldin 1987, #108, 122. (Musical notation included). 

Nign, that klezmorim play at the end of a wedding. The in-laws say goodbye to each other and it becomes [a solemn occasion] like ‘yonkiper.’ At the end the nign turns merry and people dance a karahod [circle dance]. Bernstein 1927, p. 96. (Musical notation included). 

“Other dances performed at weddings in East European communities were:... Redl, Frailachs, Karahod, Hopke, vigorous circle dances done by men.” EncyJud 1971, p. 1265-66

“We know the form of the characteristic Hassidic circle dance, which is very widespread and is called ‘karahod’ or in our language ‘circle.’” Fridhaber 1968, pp. 35-36

The Redl, Karahod, Hopke: Circle dances danced by men.” Lapson 1943, p. 461

“Then the new dances and music are begun. The rebbe tosses money. People turn in karahodn -- ‘igl-tents’ [‘circle dance’] as Hassidim call it. ‘igl bitokh igl un tsvishn -- iglim, meaning a circle in a circle and then in between, reder-tents [circle dances].” [Poland, c. World War I]. Litvin 1917, p. 8

“Karahod. Yiddish word of Slavic origin designating a circle dance performed generally in a lively duple or quadruple meter. The dancers (men only) grasp hands, hook arms, or place their hands on each others’ shoulders... The karahod is still danced at Hassidic weddings and festival occasions.” [New York, 1960s-70s]. Nulman 1975, p. 130

“... karahod -- from the Russian word karavhod, for a circle dance. (mus. ex. 21).” Stutschewsky  1959, p. 170. (Musical notation included). 

“Karahod. round (dance), circle.” Weinreich 1977, p. 429

“After the grace-after-meals the bridegrooms used to take the bride and place her in the middle of the room. A handkerchief was wrapped around her hand with one end out, [which] each in-law would take the end of and dance around with the bride, and this was called ‘kosher-tants’... [After the last man, being the groom, had his turn,] the klezmorim would play a karahod, meaning a dance in which all men and women circled separately in a round... Right in the middle of the dance... the bridegrooms snatched the couple from the room...” [Vilna, Lithuania, c. 1880s-90s]. Zizmor 1922a, p. 875

See Dreydl, Kosher-tants, Redl, and Rikudl.