90 THE BELIEFS AND RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES
5. Atyat ozazs, Moksha ati/at osks was the worship of ancestors at the place of burial.
The Public Sacrificial Feasts of the Parish.
These were chiefly held in summer, in honour of all the Mordvin divinities — wlien, for example, a pestilence or some calamity had be- fallen the community. The ceremonies were as follows: —
The velen atyatnya, or elders of the villages forming the parish, having taken counsel, sent five Or six men to the pryavt. On reach- ing his house they halt before it with bared heads, and the pryavt on learning this orders the gate to be opened wide, and goes and stands beside the Izarda syarho. The old men approach him without saying a word, and bow three times. They then suggest that a festival should be held, that he should fix the day, and make the necesssary preparations. After fixing on the Friday following the fete-day of the divinity to be worshipped, the pryavt enters his house, halts near the stove, takes up a coal, blows up a flame and lights the sacred shtatolj or wax candle, preserved from the last festival. Formerly he placed it on the hearth-stone of the stove, but since the diffusion of Christianity, before the holy picture. Then the old men, with the same bows and protestations as before, state their petition. The pryavt, takmg the candle in his hand, again announces on what Friday the divine service is to be held.
At the bidding of the ^jryavt the old men now sit down and discuss how much money, corn, honey, and other requisites are to be collected, and who should be elected vosatya. Then they elect the three parin- dyaitSy summon them, and order them to begin the collection. One of the yanheds at the last festival is assigned to each parindyait as a companion. The pryavt gives a vat to each of the latter to hold the meal and honey, and a knife to each of the former. Then they start off in three directions, but the collection is not made till next day. The customs used in doing this are especially remarkable.
In the village where the collection is to be made they know before-