« 2019. #2 (146)

The Ethnology Notebooks. 2019, 2 (146), 319—327

UDK 392+2-55 (477-1-17)




Deputy Director of Research

Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Life in Lviv

named after Klymentii Sheptytskyi,

Chernecha Hora str., 1, 79014, Lviv, Ukraine

Contacts: e-mail:

Abstract. Beliefs are an integral part of everyday life, besides, they often become the basis for traditional practice phenomena. Similarly, bread in folk culture is necessary part of the daily life cycle, and at the same time it is an indispensable attribute of rituals. There are many warnings and regulations around it, and extremely stable conceptions. Therefore, the wider coverage of the sacred-semiotic aspect of the beliefs associated with bread on the territories of certain ethnographic regions is relevant nowadays. In this work, the author aims to consider the beliefs of Polissia region that are related to bread, one way or another, to reveal their specificity as well as it resemblance to the whole Ukrainian context; the article also would highlight the sacred-semiotic load of bread-associated beliefs. The object of scientific exploration is beliefs of the Polischuk people, the ones that are related to the bread are its subject. Author have used methods of typological analysis and reconstruction, in combination with structural and functional elements, using the basic methods of ethnological science. The bread-associated beliefs are usually considered in conjunction with other customary actions or are briefly mentioned in the researches on baking, as well as other aspects of traditional culture. That is why the author tries to cover them as comprehensively as possible, based on his own field materials collected during the last decade on the territory of Polissia.

In analyzing the sacred-semiotic component of the above-mentioned beliefs, the author relies on the work of famous Ukrainian and foreign researchers, ethnologists and philosophers, both contemporary and those whose works have already become the classics of scientific thought. Folk bakery is soaked up by many beliefs that accompany bread from the process of making to consumption. Due to the continuity of the tradition and the preserved habit of home baking at Polissia, a great many of these custom elements have been saved and are still functioning. The main reasons for this are a certain sacralization of bread, but without its deification; as well as the direct relevance of many bread-associated customs to acts of honoring the dead ancestors, the tradition that is extremely long-standing and resistant to changes and influences. According to the author, these beliefs have become an integral part of the Polissia and All-Ukrainian tradition, one of the foundations of the social landscape of the designated territories.

Keywords: bread, Polissia, beliefs, sacredness, semiotics.

Received 25.02.2019


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