Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/94

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The Mordvins pray to Ak shakal ozais, the god of fisheries, and drown a horse in a lake or river as an offering to him.

April 23, St. George's Day, is dedicated by the Mordvins to Svyet vereshki velen Pas, the god of the earth and of vegetation, taking him to be the equivalent of St. George. The Teryukhans of the government of Nizhni-Novgorod pray to their god the day after the spring festival of Nikola, calling him the father of Nikola Pas. So too, on May 9, they pray to the water-god, and on the following day to the earth-god. According to Russian popular belief the earth is sacred to Simon Zelotes, whose day is May 10.

May 1, or the Prophet Jeremias' Day, is dedicated to Keret ozais (ploughshare ozais), the god of agricultural implements. The Russians consider Jeremias the patron of agricultural implements, and term him Jeremias the harnesser.

On June 24, or St. John's Day, a great festival is held in honour of Nishki Pas, god of the sky, sun, light, and darkness, regarding him sometimes as John the Baptist, sometimes as the Saviour.

On June 20, or Elias' Day, thay pray to Purgine Pas, the thunder god, considering him to be the prophet Elias, who holds thunder and lightning in his power according to Russian belief.

August 18, the day of SS. Flora and Laura is celebrated by the Mordvins with prayers in honour of Angar ozais and Lishman ozais, the divinities of horsekeeping. Women are never admitted to this festival, and the Russians have the same custom at their horse-festival.

September 15, or Nikita's Day, is kept by the Russians by tearing off a goose's head and throwing it into the water for the water-spirit. The Mordvins make a similar offering to their water-god Ved mastir Pas, who answers in their opinion to S. Nikita, whom the Russians call "the goosey" or "the goose-flayer."

October 29 is the Russian festival of shepherds, when they pray to S. Anastasi to protect their flocks.

The Mordvins take this saint to be their goddess Rev ozais, who watches over sheep (rev), and whom they worship on the same day or on the following Friday.