« 2023. # 4 (172)

The Ethnology Notebooks. 2023. № 4 (172), 986—994

UDK [[392.81:398.332.4]:392.5](=161.2)




  • Candidate of Historical Sciences (= Ph.D. in History),
  • Senior researcher of the department of Modern Ethnology
  • of the Ethnology Institute
  • of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine,
  • 15, Svobody Avenue, 79000, Lviv, Ukraine,
  • Contacts: e-mail:

Abstract. The aim of the offered article is coverage of the layer of customary and ritual, worldview phenomena associated to divination about the future husband (wife) with the help of ritual food.

The object of the research is the traditional worldview, the customs and rite culture of the residents of different regions of Ukraine, and the subject — fortune-telling with ritual food to induce prophetic dreams about the bridegroom (bride), which Ukrainians resorted to during various winter calendar holidays (Introduction to the Church of the Most Holy Theotokos, Saint Catherine, Andrew, New Year). Attention is paid to the assortment of «prophetic» food and its recipe, the time, venue and composition of the divination performers have been established, the action and verbal levels of oneiromantic practices are revealed. Local differences, beliefs, customary instructions, ritual taboos etc., related to the prediction the person, appearance of the future husband (wife) etc. are characterized. Archaic ways of using and obtaining ingredients were identified and studied in detail, for example, for making ritual cookies (pulling bushes, «riding», «jumping» on a «prophetic» peg, using «silent» water brought from the river, wells in the mouth). In this sense, the fact that ritual food was a kind of mediator between «this» and «another» world, from where «prophetic» information came, is interesting. It should be noted that in some places girls and boys could foresee their marriage fate only if certain conditions were met, which actually preceded oneiromantic practices. It was noted that in some cases, oneiromantic practices were combined with fortune-telling with seeds, stakes, the custom of «biting the kalyta» and were a kind of continuation or completion of them. In addition, in order to increase the effectiveness of the rituals, Ukrainian youth used proverbs, prayers as well as clothes and some household items that could be intentionally steal. Mythologically marked places are important, which were associated with the location and connection to the «other» world of the souls of ancestors, household spirits, etc.

The basis of the article are the materials of the field research, local folklore articles and works of the second half of the 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. The author uses a various methods (field observation, comparative-historical, comparative, reconstructive, structural-semantic).

Keywords: mantic actions/practices (divination), Ukrainians, ritual food, water, salt, pegs, clothes, towel, spoon.

Received 9.06.2023


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