home / congresses / SIEF2013

SIEF2013 11th Congress: Tartu, Estonia.
30 June - 4 July, 2013

SIEF2013: Circulation

Tartu, Estonia; 30th June - 4th July

(P10)

Differentiation of the ritual year(s) through time and space: selectivity and its reasons

Location Ülikooli 18, 228
Date and Start Time 01 July, 2013 at 10:30

Convenors

Laurent Fournier (University of Aix-Marseille) email
Irina Sedakova (Institute of Slavic Studies, Moscow) email
Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

This panel will focus on the differentiation of the ritual year(s). It will have a special interest in the ways and the reasons why some elements of the traditional ritual year(s) are picked up by individuals or political bodies and selected in order to address new audiences in a globalised world.

Long Abstract

This panel will focus on the individual and governmental differentiation of the ritual year(s). The notion of differentiation will be grasped through the circulation as well as the mobility, adaptation and (re)construction of the traditional rituals and festivals through time and space. The panel will have a special interest in the ways and the reasons why some elements of the traditional ritual year(s) are picked up by individuals or political bodies and selected in order to address new audiences and new tastes. In a globalised world, with a higher rate of migrations and crucial political changes in East-European countries, some of the traditional rituals have survived and even developed into huge national festivities, while some other customs wane and disappear. In this context, globalisation paradoxically leads to the differentiation and the fragmentation of the traditional rituals. Through case studies and more theoretical reflections, the contributors to this panel will compare the ritual systems in various countries, so to elicit the reasons for selectivity (migrations, ideology, religiosity, national values, local cultural touristic attractions, etc.). Special attention will be paid to the ritual year in the former socialist countries, and other European countries' cases will provide valuable material for comparative analysis. The contributors to this panel will also try to highlight how the traditional knowledge and the performance habits are being collected, studied and circulated nowadays, leading to reinterpretations of the rituals.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Christian ritual years in Russia and Bulgaria today: differentiation and its reasons

Author: Irina Sedakova (Institute of Slavic Studies, Moscow)  email

Short Abstract

The paper aims to present a comparative analysis of the modern Christian ritual years in Bulgaria and Russia, to trace and explain the differences in otherwise similar systems. The distinctions in form and content appear to be caused by church and state policy, history, geography, local cults, etc.

Long Abstract

The paper aims to present a comparative analysis of contemporary Christian ritual years in Bulgaria and Russia, to trace and explain the differences in otherwise similar systems. The distinctions are documented in the form and the content of the feasts and appear to be caused by church and state policy, as well as history, geography and culture, folk religious traditions and local cults. Detailed case studies based on field research will illustrate the differences and the grounds for them.

The two church calendars are based on Gregorian (in Bulgaria, with several exceptions) and Julian (in Russia) systems respectively, therefore the timing of the feasts does not always coincide. The lists of church festivals selected as the national red-lettered holidays also differ: in Bulgaria, St George, May the 6th and Sts Cyril and Methodius, May, 24th are state holidays, while in Russia they are not.

The way some Christian feasts (Palm Sunday, Whitsun, Assumption Day, etc.) are celebrated depends on geographical zone and the time of germination and ripening of plants and fruit. This distinction affects the green decoration of the churches and houses, the festive service, acts of blessing and the set of the sacred objects venerated at home. Last but not least, Bulgarian Church is rather tolerant towards the folk religious tradition and allows some acts to be performed as part of the service or after it, while the Russian Orthodoxy strongly opposes these practices as "pagan survivals".

Okunevo: new mixture, old ideas

Author: Aado Lintrop (Estonian Literary Museum)  email

Short Abstract

The paper analyzes the phenomenon of village Okunevo in Siberia, which is during last twenty years been in centre of different religious activities. The example of Okunevo shows how some old religious ideas have obtained new life.

Long Abstract

The paper analyzes the phenomenon of Okunevo. This small Siberian village is situated on the bank of the river Tara about 250 kilometres north of Omsk. Okunevo was so small and unnoticed place that there was not even a chapel, before in 1992 Latvian origin Radzhni (actually Rasma Rozite) arrived upon the scene. She had a mission from her mythical guru Haidakhan Babaji to find the location of ancient Hanuman temple. Toponyms Om and Tara leaded Radzhni in the vicinity of Okunevo. She had some visions when she camped near the village, so she decided it would be the right place. Radzhni stayed in the village and founded there ashram. Elderly village women were happy because there was a sacred place in their village since then. Rumors began to spread soon that deep under the village is buried ancient temple with mysterious "crystal of thought", that five small lakes in the neighbourhood were originated by a meteorite fallen from Sirius, and therefore the water has miraculous properties. Okunevo became a pilgrimage destination. In addition to Shri Babaji disciples the place was discovered by the Russian Orthodox Church, by the Old Believers and by Neo-Pagans. It is also popular among all kinds of extrasenses and esoteric tourists. The producers of well known Russian vodka "Pyat ozer" [Five lakes] also benefit from the legends connected with Okunevo.

It is said, that everything new is actually well forgotten old. In the paper I try to show some roots of the Okunevo phenomenon.

A festive bricolage: holiday landscape in Slovenia

Author: Ingrid Slavec Gradišnik (ZRC SAZU)  email

Short Abstract

After WW2, the festive landscape in Slovenia changed radically due to restructuring of society, politics, economy and the ever closer global integration. The paper will attempt to show how the changes in the official festive calendar in socialism and after have inscribed itself in festive practices.

Long Abstract

After WW2, the festive landscape in Slovenia changed radically due to restructuring of society, politics, economy and the ever closer global integration. The paper will attempt to show how the changes in the public festive calendar in socialism and after have inscribed itself in the enacted festive map. The changes not only affected the official holiday calendar which usually marks the events the national community should identify itself with. In the post-socialist decades, some religious holidays regained their position as red calendar days; some have been withdrawn from the calendar of public holidays and were replaced and joined by other state holidays and European holidays. Many festive practices are novel and related to the flows of globalisation mediated by popular and consumer culture. On the other side, on the local level we are faced with former folk or "traditional" holidays. Moreover, some of the significant days of the socialist system are unofficially being celebrated. Thus, holidays are conquering new venues, touch different generations and acquire fresh meanings. They are constitutive at the level of politics, local, generational and other layers of social and cultural identity, but not uniformly and with the same intensity. They can be related to processes of inclusion and exclusion, remembering and forgetting, uses of cultural heritage, socialization / enculturation, rural-urban boundaries, the imposed and the creative aspects; and above all, to the holiday/ritual actors that are involved in the production of social meaning and values (e.g. patriotism, nationalism, religion, love, happiness, pleasure, entertainment).

Calendar feasts in Estonia: the politics of adoption and reinstatement

Author: Mare Kõiva (Estonian Literary Museum)  email

Short Abstract

My aim is to outline some processes characteristical to the Estonian

ritual year during the 20th and early 21st century, and to examine what

happens to calendar practices in interaction with new cultural practices.

Long Abstract

During the late 19th century and early 20th century, the structure of

feasts in Estonia profoundly changed due to modernization and

urbanization. Major changes took place in structure of state and national

feasts, the importance of church feasts constantly decreased under the

influence of secularizised society. In the early 20th century many new

feasts (Mothers day, Labour Day) were invented.

My aim is to outline some processes characteristical to the Estonian

ritual year during the 20th and early 21st century, and to examine what

happens to calendar practices in interaction with new cultural practices.

First, I will present the calendar system and the most popular feasts, the

various layers and celebrations of the calendar system after the second

world war, under Soviet rule. Secondly, a general description of the

tendecies connected with ritual year during the re-established Estonian

Republic is demonstrated.

In my opinion, two independent dynamic models of collective behaviour

operate in the cultural space: the linear model, which helps to create and

inscribe into the society (state-supported) new festivities, and the

nonlinear model, which continues (at the level of family and social

networks) the practice of earlier traditions and values. Specific personal

behavioural strategies vary and, at least in the case of festivities and

celebrations, we see a fusion of two behavioural models and choices.

Multilayered holiday: 23rd of April as St. George's Day and new Holiday of Veterans in Estonia

Author: Kirsti Jõesalu (University of Tartu)  email

Short Abstract

The paper intends to analyze in which way a new national holiday is created, by using elements of traditional folk calendar. 23. April is St. George Day, spring turnout day, having still meaningful place in ritual year. Since 2013 this day will be celebrated also as national veterans’ day in Estonia.

Long Abstract

In the end of last year, Estonian Government improved a new veteran politics, which is meant to celebrate the veterans, who have participated on military missions since 1995. As a part of it the new national day will be introduced in 2013. As stated by the Minister of Defense: "April of 23, the Day of St. George, the Day of the Patron Saint of warriors, will be celebrated in the next year first time as a Day of Veterans" (Reinsalu 2012).

St. George Day has an important place in Estonian folk calendar. St. George day marks the beginning of fieldwork, this is the spring turnout day, etc. The St. George Day has been celebrated also today. Important part of the celebration has been and still is the making of campfire. The Day of St. George has one more meaning in Estonian national calendar - the Uprising in year 1343 - has been celebrated on that day.

In the presentation I'm showing which (if any) connectivity is created between the old folk calendar and new national day. Which elements of traditional ritual day are picked up? Which connection is created with St. George Day Uprising, which was celebrated through Soviet time?

I intend to conduct interviews with people behind Veteran Day, and I will present, how the first Veteran Day was celebrated. The paper seeks to show which national and religious (the stressing of the role of St. George in the secularized Lutheran society) values are connected to this new (old) holiday.

Shrove: "religious", "socialistic" and "Lithuanian" festival

Author: Žilvytis Šaknys (Institute of Lithuanian History)  email

Short Abstract

The presentation takes the feast of Shrove as an case to show how Christian festival may be used for ideological purposes and become socialistic or even the one uniting Lithuanians all around the world.

Long Abstract

The presentation takes the feast of Shrove as an case to show how Christian festival may be used for ideological purposes.

Shrove is the distinct agricultural festival in traditional Lithuanian calendar cycle. It had relatively weak ties with Christianity. On the other hand, it was the feast when religious Catholic or Orthodox youth could have a decent meal and entertainment before the fast of the Lent period. In the beginning of the Soviet occupation this festival was forbidden in Lithuania. For instance, even cooking pancakes on the day of Shrove in 1950 finished in punishment. However, in 1959 a soviet methodological issue for the celebration of Shrove in all Lithuania was published. It dealt with the recommendable script of the festival in which elements of traditional festival in Western Lithuania predominated. Shrove became a festival of Expulsion of Winter. In fact, the time of the festival was rescheduled into the period of Lent in the hope that it would help to combat against religiousness. From 1960 to 1985, when even popular articles dealing with traditional festivals were not tolerated, Shrove was an exception. After 1990, when traditional festivals were being revived, Shrove experienced little changes only, i.e. it hardly acquired traditional attributes of the particular part of the country. During mass emigration in the beginning of the 21th century "Lithuanian Shrove" also spread due to ethnic identity embodied in the festival. Recently Shrove has been celebrated by Lithuanian emigrants in Great Britain, Spain, USA etc.

Festive rituals in the life of Russian-speaking Israelis: integration strategies and cultural memories

Authors: Larisa Fialkova (The University of Haifa)  email
Maria Yelenevskaya (Technion, Israel Institute of Technology)  email

Short Abstract

This paper explores how acceptance or rejection of the festive traditions of the host society reflects immigrants’ integration strategies. Internalization of the new festive rituals contributes to evolving hybrid identities. Immigrants enjoy trickster behavior mixing rituals of the two cultures.

Long Abstract

Holidays and rituals associated with them constitute an important part of culture. They help ethnic and religious groups to preserve historic memories and myths. Observation of festive traditions shapes an individual's identity and contributes to the solidarity with one's own group. When migrants settle in a new country whose traditions are markedly different from those of their country of origin, readiness to accept them is akin to symbolic border crossing. It can facilitate integration into the host society but at the same time alienate them from co-ethnics.

This paper looks into the evolution of festive traditions among Russian-speaking Israelis. Predominantly secular, they were brought up in the spirit of secular Soviet holidays and were vaguely familiar with Jewish holidays. Their initial indifference to the rituals of the Passover and the Day of Atonement but attachment to the celebration of the New Year and Victory Day was viewed by Israeli society as a defiant expression of otherness.

Based on in-depth interviews, mass media monitoring and participant observation, the paper examines which of the old holidays were preserved and which were quickly abandoned. We explore how acceptance or rejection of new festive traditions reflects immigrants' integration or ghettoization strategies and triggers intergeneration conflicts. Internalization of the new festive traditions contributes to evolving hybrid identities. This, however, does not prevent immigrants from enjoying trickster behavior when rituals belonging to the two cultures are deliberately mixed.

Circulation and differentiation of Scottish games and sports

Author: Laurent Fournier (University of Aix-Marseille)  email

Short Abstract

This paper will focus on the circulation of the Scottish games and sports through time and space. The comparison between traditional games such as folk-football or “handba” and the athletic sports known as the “Highland games” will enlighten the changes which occur in the context of globalization.

Long Abstract

The circulation and differentiation of the Scottish games and sports through time and space offers a fine example to study the mobility, adaptation and reconstruction of traditional rituals and festivals in general. On the one hand, traditional games such as folk-football or "handba" remain closely connected with their original spaces and still take place at special times in the traditional Scottish calendar. On the other hand, the athletic sports and competitions known as the "Highland games" have followed the Scottish diaspora in the British Commonwealth and have eventually spread all around the world. While the former only address a limited audience in the original communities, the latter have become famous and address a massive audience worldwide. While folk-football and "handba" have remained strictly local, "Highland games" have become globalized sports. There is a paradox here, because the globalization of the "Highland games" contradicts the primitive image usually associated with the Scottish Highlands. In this communication, I will present some data collected both in Scotland and in the United States of America in order to show the changes in the ways the traditional Scottish games and sports are performed in their original context and abroad. I will especially show how the Scottish identity is disconnected from any spatial references in the new context of a global circulation of ritual patterns.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.