« 2020. № 2 (152)

The Ethnology Notebooks. 2020. № 2 (152), 350—360

UDK 398.332.4(=161.2) (292.452)

DOI https://doi.org/10.15407/nz2020.02.350

MANTIC CEREMONIAL ACTIONS WITH RITUAL BREAD IN THE WINTER RITES OF THE CARPATHIAN UKRAINIANS

Serebryakova Olena

ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1039-2920

Candidate of Historical Sciences,

Research worker of the Department of the Modern Ethnology

of the Ethnology Institute

of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine,

15, Svobody Avenue, 79000, Lviv, Ukraine,

Contacts: e-mail: o-sereb@ukr.net

Abstract. Actuality of the article is conditioned by the fact that there is still no special research about the local peculiarities of the existence of mantic actions with ritual bread in Ukrainian Carpathians. They were carried out by the Highlanders during the winter holidays, in particular the time of the twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany. Therefore, the aim of the offered article is coverage of the layer of ritual and world-view phenomena associated with the divination about the longevity, the harvest, the various positive or negative events that are about to happen. Among them — varieties, prophetic signs, in particular signs during ba­king, ritual taboos, mythological presentations, archaic elements etc. Also different mantic-magical actions were performed to increase the yield, the number of livestock, money, health, good.

The object of the research is the traditional world view and the custom and rite culture of the Carpathian Ukrainians, and the subject — the mantic actions with ritual bread, which carried out to various holidays of Christmas and Epiphany time. The basis for the article is the archival field materials of 1971—2019 from three historic and ethnographic regions of the Ukrainian Carpathians (Hutsulschyna, Boykivshchyna, Lemkivshchyna) and works of the end of nineteenth and the beginning of the twenty-first centuries. The methodology of this work is based on general scientific methodological principles and the basic requirements that apply to the works of historical and ethnological direction.

Mantic traditions related to the ceremonial use of ritual bread in the winter rites (the time of the twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany) of the Carpathians inhabitants are analyzed. Their functional purpose, semantics, symbolism and magical properties of ritual bread and other attributes (water, hemp, honey, ritual food etc.), the degree of preservation of the studied phenomena in modern times are revealed.

Due to direct contact with ritual bread, various attributes  to be charged by the magical power that was transmitted to man, livestock and field. Therefore, they acquired healing, productive and protective properties. Christmas bread was used during the water consecration of family members and the whole yard, as well sowing in the spring, using part of the ritual bread.

Among the remnants of archaic phenomena the cult of ancestors, belief in divination, verbal, productive magic, the magic of protection, magical properties of ritual attributes and their use in various mantic and magic actions etc. was preserved. According to the field records of investigated divination and magic actions are still stored in memory of old local people in the villages of Ukrainian Carpathians.

Keywords: mantic actions/practices (divination), Carpathian Ukrainians, ritual bread, winter rite, life, death, crop, wedding.

Received 17.02.2020

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