« 2019. #2 (146)

The Ethnology Notebooks. 2019, 2 (146), 303—318

UDK 398. 332. 33:631. 55-051 (477. 7/. 8=161. 2)

AGRICULTURAL THEME IN THE CHRISTMAS-CANDLEMAS PERIOD OF THE NATIONAL CALENDAR UKRAINIANS (based on the data from South-Western historicethnographic macroregion of Ukraine)

KONOPKA Volodymyr

ORCID ID: https://orcid. org/0000-0003-0872-1833

Ph.D. of Sciences in History,

Researcher of the Institute of Ethnology

of the Nationa Academy of Sciences of Ukraine,

in the Department of Historical Ethnology,

Svobody Avenue 15, 79000, Lviv, Ukraine.

Contacts: e-mail:

Abstract. The agricultural theme is one of the main issues in the folkcalendar of Ukrainians. Therefore, the clarification of the main motifs of individual calendar periods is very relevant today. The goal of author is to analyze separate rituals or their elements, which are aimed at ensuring the harvest of cereals in the Christmas-Candlemas period. The object of research is the calendar ritual, as a component of the folk culture of Ukrainians. The subject is the agricultural motifs in the system of calendar customs and rituals, in particular their substantive, focal and verbal forms. The methodological basis of work is in the principles of objectivity and historicism. The methodology of V. Propp and the ethnolinguistic school of M. Tolstoi were used to study the agricultural motifs. To form a source base, bush and route ethnographic expeditions were conducted, during which the material was recorded with the help of an oral interview of respondents according to a pre-prepared questionnaire. The agricultural theme in the Christmas-Candlemas period is not sufficiently highlighted in special scientific research. This aspect is covered by the authors rather superficially, without proper analysis; therefore the author’s field materials are the basis of the work.

Agriculture – one of the main occupations of Ukrainian peasants. Its spiritual aspect is expressed through calendar and occasional ceremonies. Sources of grain-farming motives in the calendar rituals of Ukrainians reach the period before the settlement of the Slavs. They began to form simultaneously with the active development of arable crops growing, as evidenced first of all by linguistic data and comparative ethnographic material of Slavic ethnoses (organic affinity of all-Ukrainian and general Slavic).

In the Christmas-Candlemas period, the agricultural motifs are manifested primarily through the rites and customs associated with the attributes of harvesting (a «snip», a «vinok», straw, sprouts) and cereals («kutia», porridge, bread, ritual pastry). At holidays, Ukrainian peasants followed behavioural stereotypes, which were traditionally defined, believing that the yield of cereals could be ensured in this way (which in the classical peasant society meant family prosperity in the following year). Magical actions in the winter calendar ritual (in particular, «feeding», imitation, divination and ritual obviations) are primarily aimed at forecasting and inducing yields.

Keywords: agricultural motifs, a folk calendar, the South-Western HistoricEthnographic Macro-region of Ukraine, a ritual, a custom, grain harvesting attributes, harvest.

Received 8.02.2019


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