Cereals in the Agrarian Rites of the Don Cossacks


The article is an ethnographic study of the Don region, which for a long time retained the status of a border territory. The issues of estate interaction and the formation of a hierarchy of economy types and their ritual comprehension remained relevant on this territory for a long time. This article examines analytical and descriptive sources concerning Don agriculture and the respective component of the Cossack ritual year, as well as data on the folk calendar from dialectological and ethnolinguistic expeditions.

This work aims to show how ideas about cereals and their cultivation were differentiated and transformed in the Don Region in the late 19th – early 21st centuries and what background existed for the formation of the system of agricultural ritual practices and its dynamics.

The study shows that the Don culture was characterized by symbolization of cereals and fieldwork in general. The author argues that the expanded system of military components in the Cossack folk calendar doesn’t exclude the simultaneous presence of the components that determine the agricultural cycle in the system of perceiving and dividing the ritual time at different stages of the Don Cossacks’ history. The constant movement of population in the region resulted, on the one hand, in strengthening of agrarian motifs in the calendar, and on the other, in the emergence of competing options for ritual action with the same symbol (ritual porridge) in different settlements.

The article is intended for researchers, students, and lecturers, as well as cultural workers.

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