Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/114

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106 THE BELIEFS AND RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES

millet groats boiled in sheep's milk. Similar groats are eaten by newly-married couples at their wedding, At the gatherings on the occasion of the birth of a child — nowadays at the christening — the midwife gives groats of this description to all present. Widows offer the same to Ange Patyai at " the festival of aged women." Hens, too, are fed with millet groats, mentioning at the same time the name of the goddess, that they may become better layers.

Ange Fatyai is also well disposed towards onions and garlic. The former are, therefore, placed by the Mordvins under the pillows of sickly or restless children, who are also smoked with cloves of garlic. She does not like hops, as they have grown from a shoot given to man by Shaitan. The Mordvins, therefore, never use hopped beer at their festivals in her honour, but only pure, or wort mixed with honey. The birch is her favourite tree, because it is more fertile, and spreads more than other trees. No festival is held to her without eggs, millet, and birch trees. At her winter festivals macerated bath- switches of birch are employed.

Of insects, the busy, productive bee is her greatest favourite, as it, like the hen, consented to her proposal to produce offspring every day. Accordingly, it is only from beeswax that the sacred candles are made ; and the sacrificial pure is only prepared from bees' honey. Wasps and bumble bees are not favourites, as they did not agree to her desire. The ant undertook to breed daily, and to be an ever- industrious worker ; but deceitful Shaitan began digging the ants' honeycombs into the ground, and concealed its young ones in the coarse sand, so that men could get no use out of them. The goddess, therefore, took the sweetness from the " ants' butter " and com- manded them to work only in the ground. But, formerly, " ants' butter " was honey.

Ange Patyai also favours midwives, so that she has here and there obtained the cognomen of Bulaman Patyai, goddess of the midwife. On the second day of her winter festival a private sacrificial feast was held in every village in the house of a midwife, and this has preserved the name of *' the'midday-meal assembly," down to our times. Doctors were also favoured persons, and she aided them in curing all diseases. In