a Ph.D. in History, an associate professor at Documentation Science and Museology Department of the Lesia Ukrayinka East European National University.
Traditional Ways of Punishing Hive-Destructors in the Ukrainian Right-Bank Polissia's Customary Law
The significance of bee robbery is described after the field ethnographic materials collected during the historical and ethnographic expeditions of the State Scientific Center for the Cultural Heritage Protection from Technological Disasters (2005–2013) and archival materials. Bee robbery is an ethnocultural phenomenon, which has accompanied the beekeeping at all stages of its development and it is preserved to the present time. The bee robbery has been of a particular development during the periods of wars and in times of social instability. The bee robbery prevalence during World War II is shown. Honey is stolen as rather expensive and inaccessible product and in order to get profit from its sale. Several groups of bee robbers are distinguished. These are people inclined to the thefts, children and teenagers, who want to taste a sweet product; casual people. The main methods of bee robbing are shown. These are wild bees’ nests and logs burning, pouring them with water and dropping from a tree in forest beekeeping. Theft of frames or rarely beehives prevail in home beekeeping.
An attitude to bee robbers in traditional and modern society is shown. The customary rules of punishment for bee robbers connected with violence and community condemnation, used in the following forms, are considered. It is noted that the bee robbers’ punishment to death is one of the oldest ones in the Ukrainians customary law. It is caused with the importance of beekeeping in ancient times and the protection of property rights. The following methods of bee robbers’ punishing to death have been fixed: abdominal scraping at the place of the crime; beating to death with a stick; shooting and others. Various ways to cause mutilation to people who have stolen bees are used: jumping from a tree with wild bees’ nests, which results in physical injuries, and sometimes even death; the fingers cutting away; beating the heels through the board, which also can eventually cause death, etc. The magical actions aimed at the bee robbers punishment are analyzed. They also have to result in death: throwing of wild bees’ nests parts or a log beehive with which the thief has contacted into the coffin or grave; the candle lighting on the both sides in front of the icons in the church, etc. The forms of the bee robbers public condemnation are revealed: contempt, ridicule, leading around the village.
traditional culture, beekeeping, customary law, Ukrainian Rightbank Polissia.
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