2024 #1 Rakhno K.

« 2024. # 1 (175)

The Ethnology Notebooks. 2024. № 1 (175), 16—29

UDK 398.3(477.74):930.25

DOI https://doi.org/10.15407/nz2024.01.016

CLAY VESSELS IN RAIN-INCALLING RITES OF UKRAINIANS AND BELARUSIANS AND TILE MAGIC OF SOUTHERN SLAVIC

RAKHNO Kostyantyn

  • ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0973-3919
  • Doctor of History, Associate Professor,
  • Leading Researcher of the National Museum of Ukrainian Pottery in Opishne,
  • 102, Partyzanska Street, 38164, Opishne,
  • Zinkiv District, Poltava Region, Ukraine,
  • Contacts: e-mail: krakhno@ukr.net

Abstract. Drought is a natural phenomenon, surrounded by a large number of natural phenomena for the Slavs. The cause of the drought could be witchcraft, as well as the performance of actions prohibited by certain calendar dates. The most important spring and summer folk rites were closely related to the provision of heavenly moisture, on which the growth of plants and the harvest depended. At the same time, pottery products were used. The purpose of the article is to investigate certain symbolic actions with earthenware, performing which, according to popular belief, can cause or stop precipitation. The object of the study is the throwing of pots into a well, which was a common element of the rite of invoking rain in Ukraine and neighboring regions of Belarus. It is known that in magical practice it was required to use mostly stolen dishes. The pot or jug needed for the ceremony had to be stolen from a neighbor, a widow or a potter. In Ukraine, ethnographers noted cases of throwing pots filled with borscht into a well, which had the character of a sacrifice. Instead, the subject is the kinship of such rites with the opposition to the magic of potters, brick manufacturers, and tile makers in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, and Bosnia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These craftsmen, who worked mainly in summer, were particularly interested in clear, dry weather, and therefore resorted to magical actions to induce drought. Their essence consisted in burying a live animal in the ground, which allegedly provoked the cessation of rains. The way to neutralize this was to steal the tools or products of brick manufacturers and tile makers and throw them into the water. The methodological basis of the research is the structuralist methodological toolkit.

The basis of the work is folklore and ethnographic materials that show the ancient commonality of ideas of Eastern and Southern Slavs. The results of the research are that they highlight the mythologizing of the pottery craft, the image of the potter in Slavic mythological beliefs as a priest endowed with power over the weather, a mediator between society and higher forces, able to cause and stop atmospheric precipitation.

Keywords: invoking rain, earthenware, pottery, tile making, brickmaking, legends, rites, customs, mythology of the Slavs.

Received 23.11.2023

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