OF THE MORDVINS. HI
" We shall direct our steps To meadows — groves of birch. A birch branch we'll break off — Together plait a wreath And fling it in the stream.
Oi Bid Lado ! My wee birch tree 1
" The wreath — will it float, The wreath — will it sink, O little birch tree ? O wreath, do thou float, O wreath, do not sink.
Oi Bid Lado t My wee birch tree."
The expression Did Lado has undoubtedly come to the Mordvins through the Russians, and was used by the former at the beginning of the last century.
On reaching the watercourse, the girls set up their decorated birch tree on the bank, or, as in some places, they strip it of its ribbons and tie them to the branches of a growing birch. Then they place them- selves in a circle round it, and the ^u\ iJarindyait cries:
" Sahnede ! "
The girls are silent, and their leader repeats :
" Kyolu Pas! viniman mon, have mercy upon us, Ange Patyai Pas, give us health."
They then bow profoundly to the birch three times. After this service to the divinity of the birch tree they take the wreaths from their heads and throw them into the water. If the wreath floats, the girl will soon be married, if it sinks she will soon die. They then take their clothes off and wash their feet in the water. Lastly they strip the birch of its ribbons and decorations, break it up, and throw it into the fire on which the omelets are being prepared. When these are ready the leader cries :
" Sahmede I "
She then repeats a prayer, first to Cham PaSf next to Ange Patyai, for health and good bridegrooms, and lastly to Kyol ozais, to whom the omelets are offered by raising the fryingpan three times in the air.