« 2020. № 2 (152)

The Ethnology Notebooks. 2020. № 2 (152), 293—310

UDK[ 393:[7.043:635.055]](=161.2:292.452)





Candidate of historical sciences / Doctor of Philosophy,

Researcher fellow of department of Historical Ethnology

of the Institute of Ethnology

The National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine,

15, Svobody Avenue, 79000, Lviv, Ukraine,

Contacts: e-mail:

Abstract. Introduction: The tree and its alloforms are an important attribute of the calendar and family rituals of Ukrainians, in particular the Carpathian Ukrainians. However, his burial in the burial rite has so far attracted little attention from researchers, while it is of considerable research interest. Problem Statement: For the first time the peculiarities of tree life as an important element of the ritual culture of the Ukrainian Highlanders were analyzed, in such archaic part as the burial rite.

In the proposed exploration the author aims to cover the life of the tree and its alloforms in the burial rites of the Ukrainian Highlanders. Accordingly, the object of the study is the traditional family rituals of the Carpathian Ukrainians, and the subject is the tree and its alloforms, which are an important attribute of it. The main methods used by the author are structural-functional and comparative, as well as other methods of ethnological science are involved.

The connection between tree and man, the correlation of tree and man in the popular consciousness, which is particularly evident in the rituals associated with death: in the signs of early death; in the form of funeral attributes (coffin — «tree»); in the folklore motive of turning innocently killed or suicidal into a tree; in the metaphorical perception of death-path-tree; in acts of an apotropic nature during the funeral that should have prevented the subsequent deaths of the household. It has been found that, as in other rites of passage, the tree is an important attribute for the funeral of unmarried young people as a part of the symbolic «wedding» that took place during the funeral ceremonies not only of the Ukrainian Highlanders but also of the Slavs in general. The basis of these beliefs is a strong people’s conviction that the obligation of the individual to go through the basic stages of human life: birth, family creation and death. Results: At their core, these beliefs are deeply archaic and tend to be preserved even in the 21st century. However, on the example of ethnographic materials from the Ukrainian Carpathians, we can see that the ceremonial tree was an important attribute of the funeral and of the dead who were married during their lives. This custom has parallels with the flat territories of Ukraine, is extremely archaic, and judging by the nature of the recorded materials already 150 r. so it essentially disappeared. It is substantiated that the tree, in the territory of the Ukrainian Carpathians, appeared macro sign next to the later one — a cross, which imprinted on other spheres of traditional rites (in particular on various rites during the choice of a place for dwelling and selection of building material), many of which continue our time, in the context of globalization.

Keywords: traditional rituality, funeral rite, Ukrainian Carpathians, beliefs, cult of vegetation.

Received 12.03.2020


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