Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/129

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OF THE MORDVINS. 121

This prayer is still used in Russian by the Russianised Mordvins of the government of Samara, though according to Shaverski the pagan divinities are no longer mentioned. It begins :

O God on high, the great God, help and defend us." Instead of invoking the favour of Ange Pati/ai, they say : " Look ! for thee, Festival of Christ's birth {rozhdestvo Kristovo) is a pig's head, &c."

In place of Nishhi Pas they say Pas the Provider. These Russian- ised people also no longer use a bath switch of birch, but place a lighted candle before the holy picture.

When the above prayer is over, the master takes the upper pie, cuts off an edge and puts on it a bit of the head, some pork from the maccaroni broth, a morsel of stained ^gg, of sweet pancake, and of other eatables on the table. All this he takes in his right hand, in his left a ladleful oi pure, and then repeats without kneeling the above prayer for a third time. All the others are on their knees. As he mentions each kind of food he touches the corresponding piece in his right hand. Then he hands it all over to his wife, who sets it on the old brand smoldering in the stove-pit and on the new log of birch. After this he gives her the ladle, which she empties into the recess below the stove with a prayer to Ange Patyat, and lights a fire there with dry birch twigs for the offering to burn the sooner.

When they begin eating, the master first cuts off a slice of the pig's head and eats it, then his wife does the same, and lastly the rest of the family. The ears and snout are usually given to the children. When dinner is over, the wife takes a piece of the head and a ladle of pure, puts the former under the kai^do syarko and pours the latter over it.

The following day, December 26, the whole village holds a public feast, petsiona molyan, in the house of a midwife. Pure^ pies, groats, and other requisites were collected by the mistresses of families, who brought j9W7'e brewed by themselves and ready cooked food to the house of the midwife, who had herself only cooked two kinds of millet groats, one thick, the other thin. A few' days before the festival of Ange Patyai the women that had had children in the course of the year brought her the millet and butter to make this.