Stishova Nataliya – a Ph.D. in History, an academic secretary of the NASU M. Rylskyi IASFE
Long-Standing Ukrainian Feast of St. Simeon Stylites within Conventional Customary and Ritual Culture
The article enlightens conventional customs and rites of the long-standing Ukrainian feast of St. Simeon Stylites as a spiritual culture’s phenomenon mirrored in calendar holidays of autumnal cycle. There is also a presentation of colourfulness and diversity of the feast’s conventional rituals, as well as an observation of its state of safety within Ukrainian folk culture. From confessional sources, the study fragmentarily gives a material on St. Simeon Stylites’s life. The commencement of the church Indiction, and therefore the Liturgical Year, is associated with the feast day in religious calendar.
Among people, the day of St. Simeon’s feast, formerly called Litoprovodets (One Who Sees Off Summer), is related with changes in people’s environment, life and manners and customs (in nature, household, rituals and customs, etc.), that is to say, this feast has the meaning of transitional rites. To that kind of life changes of transitional nature belong the following: initiations (of both princelings and later Cossacks, and afterwards – of aged youngsters); the inception of work of artisanal masters (weavers, cart-wrights, joiners, blacksmiths and others); the completion of all business and trade deals; the termination of Vulytsi (street gatherings and amusements); and the beginning of Vechornytsi (indoor get-togethers). The latter were the principal nuclei of rural youth socialization, where lasses and lads had opportunity to be better acquainted with the opposite sex, to master the bearings and behavior patterns being characteristic of grown-ups, and to obtain certain knowledge and experience in the sphere of mutual relations.
The article presents the customary and ritual tradition related to honouring the fire – the ignition of the first flame (Candle’s wedding), as well as the pre-Christian ritual actions of observing the Candle’s Holiday, which occurred on Kyiv’s Podil and whose scenario has remained since the Middle Ages.
In relation to St. Simeon’s feast, there exists, among people, diverse variants of legends on birds and insects; therefore, the feast is also called the feast of swallows and sparrows.
St. Simeon’s feast, holiday, ritual, custom, Candle’s wedding, ritual actions, vechornytsi (get-together – a pastime on evenings), initiations.
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