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Regional and Local Peculiarities of the Gomel Region Calendar Ritual Poetry (After the Folklore Materials of Yelsk and Karma Districts)

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The authors of the publication:
Novak Valentyna
Bibliographic description:
Novak, V. (2018) Regional and Local Peculiarities of the Gomel Region Calendar Ritual Poetry (After the Folklore Materials of Yelsk and Karma Districts). Folk Art and Ethnology, 6 (376), 23–32.


Novak Valentyna

a Doctor of Philology, a professor of Russian and Global Literature Subdepartment of the Francysk Skaryna Homel State University (Republic of Belarus).


Regional and Local Peculiarities of the Gomel Region Calendar Ritual Poetry (After the Folklore Materials of Yelsk and Karma Districts)



The article is dedicated to the investigation of the regional and local peculiarities of the Gomel region calendar and ritual poetry. Attention is paid to the specificity of separate phenomena of the Winter and Spring cycles of the Yelsk and Karma districts agricultural calendar. The structural components of the local Christmas and New Year’s ritual complexes are considered in detail.

On the basis of the authentic materials, recorded in the field expeditions, the distinctive features of the preparation of the ceremonial dish (kutia), the local peculiarities of the Christmas caroling rite in the villages of Yelsk and Karma districts are revealed. Interesting examples of both economic fortune­telling and the divination related to the second ritual part named as kutia celebration are given. Such peculiar facts of Christmas and New Year’s periods as the roundabout procession of carol­singing people with a spider (Strukachov, Zadubiye villages), the rite called as babyna kasha (old woman’s porridge), well known as spaika, peculiar for Vysokaye and Zadubiye villages have been revealed with the help of folklore and ethnographic materials, recorded in Karma district.

The facts of the frost calling ritual while the second kutia celebration are confirmed with the direct reminiscences of the inhabitants of the aforenamed districts of the Gomel region. Its semantics is connected with the belief in the ancestry spirits, their magical abilities to influence on the surroundings.

Specific features have been distinguished in the Spring calling ceremony on the Gomel region territory. The folklore tradition of Yelsk district is in the organic combination of the elements peculiar both to the Spring calling rite and Shrovetide rituals, while such ceremonies are absent in Karma region. The existence of so called Spring calling and the larks rites within a single folklore­ethnographic complex have been noted just here. The execution of spring songs (vesnianky) has been accompanied by specific actions with the board. It is placed on the water, bread and a candle have been put on it, with a bun thrown into the water during the Spring calling. It should be mentioned among the local elements in the structure of Spring calling ritual.

The Yuriy day complex in the villages of Yelsk and Karma districts is distinguished by the rituals preserving both of cattle­breeding (the rite related to the first cow pasture in the field) and the agricultural orientation (the rite of the cornfield roundabout). The Yuriy day round dance, performing in Volavsk village of Yelsk region, is a spring tradition local peculiarity. In some villages of Karma district the rite of the first cow pasture in the field has been accompanied with the charms and corresponding actions with certain subject attributes. They both have a magic significance.

Folklore and ethnographic materials, presented in the article as the examples, are a vivid confirmation of the research topicality of the problem based on ethnic, regional and local correlation in modern Folkloristics. Preserving the common ethnic basis, Winter and Spring rites in Gomel region are notable for their original local specificity.



rite, ritual complex, ceremony, signs and traditional beliefs, calendar ritualism, song, mythological views.



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