Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/97

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OF THE MOKDVINS. 89

belonging to the above-mentioned, were elected three days before the feast. It was their office to find in the village a reddish-yellow bull and a pure white ram. If such was not to be found, one of another colour would answer the purpose, so long as it was all the same colour. They were purchased with the money collected by the parindyaits, and were led to the place of sacrifice and afterwards killed by the yanheds.

The Moksha had fewer divinities than the Ersa and Teiyukhans. Their ceremonies were less complicated, and they had far fewer officials to direct them. The sacrifices and prayers made at home were performed by the senior members of the household, but for the public festival an old man and woman were elected in every village (see note, § 4). The inyat or ine atya, i.e., the great old man or grandfather performed the service to Soltan, hnt the imlaha or old woman to Asar\ ava (the lady). This old couple was held in un- bounded honour by the villagers as the best repeaters of prayers in the place. If any misfortune befel a Moksha, he at once had recourse to them, asking them to pray to God or to come to their private prayers at home.

Ozais was the word the Ersa and Teryukhans formerly gave to their feasts, their sacrifices, and in general to their divine service. Now-a-days they use in the same sense the word molyan, a loan word from the Russian, and already in use in the first year of the last century. The word ozais, as we have learnt before, also denotes a good spirit or an inferior divinity. But the Moksha still call their divine service by its original term — oshs.

The divine service of the Mordvins was five-fold: —

1. Velen ozais, velen molyan, Moksha vel asks was a public worship or sacrificial feast of the parish. -

2. Petsiyona ozais, petsiyona molyan, Moksha petsiyona osJcs was the divine service of the village.

3. FaJcsya ozais, Moksha, paTcsya oshs was the worship held in a field (paJcsya) or in the open.

4. Kuda ozais, Moksha, kuda osks was the service held at home (kuda).