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Cult of the Domestic Animals in the Green Week Rites of the Historical -Ethnographic Volhynia

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The authors of the publication:
Pozhodzhuk Dmytro
p.:
19-33
DOI:
https://10.15407/nte2021.03.019
Bibliographic description:
Pozhodzhuk, D. (2021) Cult of the Domestic Animals in the Green Week Rites of the Historical-Ethnographic Volhynia. Folk Art and Ethnology, 3 (391), 19–33.

Author

Pozhodzhuk Dmytro

a postgraduate at Ethnology Department of the Ivan Franko Lviv National University. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1207-9388

 

Cult of the Domestic Animals in the Green Week Rites of the Historical -Ethnographic Volhynia

 

Abstract

The article deals with the cattle-breeding component of customs and rites of the Green Holidays cycle in historical and ethnographic Volhynia.

The main cattle-breeding rituals fell on the Sunday of Pentecost (Orthodox Trinity). On the eve of Trinity Sunday, on Green Saturday, Volhynians decorated their homes with greenery and flowers. They sporadically adorned with twigs cattlesheds as well. In some areas, in order to protect livestock from witches and all sorts of evil spirits, these byres were decorated with aspen and other plants endowed with apotropaic properties.

In the territory of Pulyn, Khoroshiv, and Cherniakhiv districts of Zhytomyr Region, there was a custom of stealing cows on Trinity Sunday. On Green Sunday night, shepherds stole cattle from their owners and grazed them in the field. After grazing, those thieves-cowherds put woven wreaths on the cows’ horns and returned them home well fed, with receiving a ransom from the cows’ owners.

In the Volyn part of Rivne Region, on the day of the Green Holidays, cows were decorated with wreaths. For Western Volhynia (a northern strip of modern Lviv Region, namely Zolochiv, Busk, and Kamyanka-Buzka districts), cattle-breeding customs and rituals on the Trinity are almost uncharacteristic. Unlike other districts, here they are represented on the Catholic feast of the Holy Eucharist. It was on this day that local Volynians consecrated wreaths in churches, which were later used during cattle-breeding occasions. Sporadically, potions consecrated on the Trinity were also used for this purpose. Wreaths were thrown mostly into a cow’s slops after her calving.

Despite the local spread of the custom of stealing cows, in historical and ethnographic Volhynia, the Green Holidays were not accompanied by cowherd entertainments, full of ritual actions, which was typical of the customs of other Ukrainian ethnic lands and other Slavonic ethnic groups. On this day, the local population was wary primarily of the harmful effects of witches. To protect cows from the evil influence of witches, Volhynian homemakers fumigated them with sacred potions.

In general, in historical and ethnographic Volhynia, the Trinity Sunday-related cattle-breeding theme had a typical apotropaic nature.

 

Keywords

ethnology, historical and ethnographic Volhynia, cattle breeding, Green Holidays, cattle, Green Week adornment, witch, wreaths, cow stealing, potion.

 

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