Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/96

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88 THE BELIEFS AND RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES

is held in his honour on December 6, but they have not made him a goddess.

The Officials at the Ceremonies.

The vosatya * was the chief sacrificer of the Ersa and Teryukhans at the public festivals. He repeated the prayers and arranged the ceremonies. He and his twelve assistants were elected at every parish festival from the most honoured of the old men, but generally this duty fell upon the same men for several years.

The twelve assistants were as follows:

The parindyaits or pur endy aits were three men generally elected for a whole year. It was their business to make a house-to-house collection of corn for making beer, honey for mead, as well as eggs, butter, and money. "When the beer and mead was made it was put into the sacred vats given them by the pryavt. Pure means beer and purendyait the boiler or brewer of beer. This beer is mixed with honey and is fermented, but contains no hops. It is very intoxicating and is in general use among the Chuvash, the Marya, and the Vyatka peoples.

The yanbedSj also three in number, were chosen two days before the festival, and received the sacrificial knives from the pryavt It was their business to cook the sacrificial flesh and distribute it among the people.

The three kashangorods were chosen on the eve of the festival, and received from the pryavt the sacred ladles, of which there were from from forty to a hundred.

The turostors were the three assistants that had to maintain order and devotion during the ceremony. To enable them to overlook the people they stood on stumps of trees or on tubs turned upside down. They had to prepare the shtatols or thick wax candles, and were elected on the eve of the festival.

The posanhunaveds were three additional serving men, who, without

• Perhaps it should be ots' atya "great old man or father," though otsu " great " is a Moksha not an Ersa word. A prosthetic inorganic v is not un- common.