Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/137

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


OP THE MORDVINS. 129

him, and only worship him with prayers. But as Keremet is malig- nant they appease him with offerings.

§ 4. They have both public and private divine services. The former are performed at home by the eldest male member of the family. He pours out a glass of kumis or of beer for every one present, gives them a piece of bread, and each, holding the glass in his hand, prays for what he wants. Sacrifices are of rare occurrence now.

§ 5. Before an animal is slaughtered it is first sprinkled with water. If it shivers they know the sacrifice will be acceptable to Keremet. See § 14.

§ 6. Public divine service is held in a grove or in a field near a wood. These sacred groves where Keremet is worshipped are also called keremets. Both Yotyaks and Chuvash believe that he listens more favourably to prayers made in a place where oaks, birches, or lime-trees are growing. Some villages have several keremets, and each has its special guardian, or warder, who performs the ceremonies. The office is hereditary.

§ 8. Public services are held in case of pestilence, a bad year, a drought, &c. All domestic animals are used for sacrifice, and the number slaughtered depends on how many families take part in the festival. There are no special ceremonies, but all must appear in holiday attire. The flesh of the animals is boiled in kettles, but the entrails, bones, &c., are thrown into the fire. When the meat is cooked it is cut up and eaten. Women are not allowed to be pre- sent. It was formerly the custom to hang up the hides on the trees in the keremet, but not now, as they were stolen by the Russian peasants.

§ 9. Dogs are held in considerable honour, both by the Votyaks and Chereniis. The latter say this is because they watch the homes of the dead.

§ 10. A. Ahlqvist, in his Muistelmia matkoilta Vendjalld, pp. 105-

108, gives some account of the Chuvash. Their two chief gods are

Tora (Esth. Taara, Finn. Tiera, Tat. tangri) and Keremet, But

they have also a sun-, moon-, wind-, road-, house-, farm-, cattle-,

Vol. 7. — Part 2. k