Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/124

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116 THE BELIEFS AND RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES

The winter festivals to Ange Fatyai are called JcyolyadenaTc, and are held at Christmas. Properly speaking, the word means the festival of Kyolada ozais. It is chiefly married women and children of both sexes that take an active part in them, and midwives are held in special honour.

The young women concoct pure for Christmas without hops, an operation at which no old men or women are allowed to be present. The day before Christmas Eve a three weeks' old pig was slaughtered with special ceremonies over the centre of the Tcardo syarho. All the mash that remained from the brewing of the beer for the festival of NasaromFas on December 6, and what was collected on the present occasion, was given to the pig. Three days before it was slaughtered it was released from the recess under the hearth-stone where it generally lived. On December 23 the young married women dressed out the pig. A linen scarf was tied round its neck, and between them were stuck in some twigs of a macerated bath switch. It was then led to the front corner of the room, and the greater part of the water used to soften the switch was poured into a bowl and presented to the pig to drink. The master of the house then led it to the centre of the courtyard, and stuck it without removing the linen or the twigs, allowing the blood to flow under the Tcardo syarho. On the same stone the pig was singed with chips of birch ignited by the sacred candles, and accompanied by a prayer to Ange Patyaiy Nishki PaSy and Taun ozais, the divinity of pigs. The scarf was also burned, but the bloody twigs were taken by the mistress of the house to wake the children with on Christmas morning. While still sleeping their mother used to strike them hard, saying :

" Ange Patyai kasines, Tcyolchanyan kasines, kyolkyolyada kasines,^ I. e., A. P. has given, the birch festival has given, kyolyada has given.

The mother does this for the benefit of their health. The louder the children cry the healthier they will become, for Ange Patyai will hear them the sooner. For the feast they usually boiled maccaroni broth or pap with the pork, and roasted the pig's head with sausages made of its intestines and stuffed with millet groats.

On Christmas Eve children both in Mordvin and Russian villages