118 THE BELIEFS AND RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES
Ho ! Kyohjada ! [repeated after each line]
That golden, solid gate,
Like silver gleams the fence.
Where, brother Vasyai, sleepest thou at night ?
It is hot on the stove,
On the stove-bench — a smell.
Near the stove-mouth — a smoke,
On the bench — a tight fit,
At the place in the nook,
Old wives have been there,
Aged women have drunk ;
Men too have been [there],
Married women have drunk ;
Brother Vasyai is rich.
With a spade gathers coin,
Pancakes and sausages,
The young married women, dressed in their best clothes, give from the window eggs garnished with cloves of garlick, pork sausages stuffed with millet groats, sweet pancakes of milk, butter, eggs, &c. ; and the so-called kyolyangemen^ or pies stuffed with millet, groats, and eggs, and made into the shape of sheep, pigs, and hens. The children put these donations into the sack. When they have made the round of the village they assemble in some room, set the great decorated bath-switch"and the lighted candle in the front corner, and eat their supper. That over, they return home.
By noon on Christmas-eve the young married women are already beginning the preparation of food. A fire is lit in the stove with a special ceremony. A lighted candle and a bath-switch of birch are placed in front of the stove. Then the ashes are swept from the stove and the pit below it with another softened switch before putting in the firewood, which must be of birch. The mistress of the house takes a faggot of birch rods, lights it with the candle, saying:
" 0, Cham Fas, have mercy upon us. 0, Ange Patyai, dear mother, most holy mother of God, pray for us. 0, Svyet Nishki PaSy let the ruddy sun rise, warm us with its warmth, cause abundance of crops to grow for us."
The burning faggot is placed on the hearth-stone, and on the top a