Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/121

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OF THE MOUDVINS. 113

left them to the posanhunaveds. These tied the sheep to the sheep- post (j/uha)^ then led them to the tersjitgcit, skinned them with the sacrificial knife, hung up the fleeces on the yuba posts, and left the flesh to be cooked by the yanbeds. The girls, holding birch branches decked with handkerchiefs and linen cloths, stationed themselves in front of the sacred birch, which was similarly bedecked. Behind the girls were the women, and behind them stood the men. The omelets and millet-groats brought from home were suspended to the branches in earthen pots, and in front of the birch tree was set a barrel of beer mixed with honey or pure. The girls chose three of themselves, and gave them the eggs already collected to make " parish omelets " on the stove-plate.

Then the vosatya climbed the tree and conducted the divine service, as has already been described. At this festival no pure was sprinkled over the people, but instead the vosatya ejected green birch twigs from his mouth, with a prayer to Kyolu Ozais. The girls gathered the twigs, wove wreaths with them, and set them on their heads. On this occasion the girls were the first to receive purhj mutton, broth, and omelets.

At the conclusion of the service the men and women returned home, but the girls went singing to a stream, undressed, and washed their feet. Then they again " made godmothers," by kissing through wreaths, and finally threw both the wreaths and the branches they had been carrying into the water.

The spring festival to Ange Patyai did not, however, end there. A week later, on the Thursday after Trinity week, the so-called " widows' prayer-feast " was held. Only widows took part in it, and only such recent widows as had determined to live unwedded for the future. This festival of the widows, or widows' groats," was the third dedicated to Ange Patyai,

On the eve of the Thursday six or seven aged women assembled, and went the rounds of the village, to collect what was necessary. The material thus gathered was handed over to the elected pryavt baba, or senior of the aged women. The office was usually assigned to the bulaman or midwife of the village. "With the money collected

Vol. 7.— Part 2. i

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