“The Year Replaces the Year.” Udmurt Spring Ceremonies among the Non-Christian Udmurt: An Ethnographic Analysis of Contemporary Ritual Life (on Materials from Varkled-Böd’ya Village)

Eva Toulouze, Nikolai Anisimov


The authors had the opportunity, during their fieldwork, to attend spring rituals in Varkled-Böd’ya village. The week before the Great Day (Bydjynnal, coinciding with Orthodox Easter) is a dense ritual week: there are young people to be initiated, boys first and girls at the concluding ritual, who thus become adults; there are evil spirits to be chased away from the space of the living; there are kin relations to be reinforced through reciprocal visits, prayers and ritual deeds. These four rituals are the focus of this article, which provides an ethnographic account as well as a general analysis of the critical dimensions observed.


Udmurt; non-Christian Udmurt; rituals; initiation; ritual songs; spring rituals; traditional calendar; ritual practice; prayers; ritual food

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2478/jef-2018-0005

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ISSN (print) 1736-6518. ISSN (online) 2228-0987. JEF is a joint publication of the University of Tartu, the Estonian National Museum and the Estonian Literary Museum.