Well Wishes, Praises and Incantations

Well-wishes, or yoryal, are considered to be one of the most popular genres in Kalmyk ritual folklore. Like traditional praises (magtal) and incantations (tarni), they have an ancient origin and are closely connected with a belief in the magical power of uttered words.

Yoryals are expressions of warm feelings nourished by the utterer. They are uttered during celebrations, rituals and other important events. It is believed that the age of the utterer correlates with the power of the yoryal - the older the utterer, the more powerful the yoryal is. The Kalmyks start every important deed with a yoryal, be it a tea drinking ceremony, or before setting out on a journey, or while receiving guests, during present-giving ceremonies, name-giving ceremonies, weddings, funerals and national holidays.

Praises, or magtal, also belong to a genre of ancient poetry connected with magical rituals. Magtals have been uttered or sung to mythical heroes, clan ancestors, famous people and geological morphologies, such as mountains and hills. Examples of the latter are the 'Praise to the Altai Mountains' (Altain magtal) and the 'Praise to the Bogd Mountain' (Bogd uulyn magtal).

Tarni incantations are usually whispered. Some incantations consist of only spells, others have a performative side to them as well. In the latter case, the utterer of a tarni is supposed to perform both parts correctly for the incantation to have an effect.

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Khargchin Koldzhieva, Well wishes
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2014-07-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Khabunova, Evdokia
  • ItemOpen Access
    Ivan Modunkaev, Well wishes
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2014-12-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Seleeva, Tsagan
  • ItemOpen Access
    Galina Suikieva, Well wishes
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2016-02-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumov, Anton; Churyumov, Anton; Kovaeva, Bair
  • ItemOpen Access
    Galina Koldaeva, Well wishes
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2017-04-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Babaev, Andrei; Churyumov, Anton; Kovaeva, Bair
  • ItemOpen Access
    Elza Badaeva, Well wishes
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2015-12-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumov, Anton; Churyumov, Anton; Kovaeva, Bair
  • ItemOpen Access
    Badma Ochirova, Well wishes
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2015-12-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Babaev, Andrei; Kornyakova, Saglara; Shipeeva, Danara
  • ItemOpen Access
    Anna Sangadzhi-Goryaeva, Well wishes
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2016-08-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Kovaeva, Bair; Babaev, Andrei
  • ItemOpen Access
    Andrei Ochir-Goryaev, Well wishes
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2014-08-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Churyumova, Elvira
  • ItemOpen Access
    Zinaida Lidzhieva, Well wishes
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2016-02-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumov, Anton; Okonov, Andzhur; Kovaeva, Bair
  • ItemOpen Access
    Valentina Goryaeva, Well wishes
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2014-11-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Terbish, Baasanjav; Okonov, Andzhur; Seleeva, Tsagan
  • ItemOpen Access
    Tatyana Dordzhieva, Well wishes
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2015-11-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumov, Anton; Gedeeva, Darina
  • ItemOpen Access
    Rimma Badmaeva, Well wishes
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2016-02-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Babaev, Andrei
  • ItemOpen Access
    Petr Tazaev, My well wishes
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2018-02-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Bembeev, Aleksandr; Sandzhiev, Artur
  • ItemOpen Access
    Nina Sambueva, Zurgan Lidzhieva, Well wishes
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2017-04-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Babaev, Andrei; Churyumov, Anton; Kovaeva, Bair
  • ItemOpen Access
    Andrei Boskhomdzhiev, Well wishes to the host
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2017-11-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Bembeev, Aleksandr; Korneev, Gennadiy; Bembeev, Aleksandr
  • ItemOpen Access
    Tatyana Dordzhieva, well wishes (2018)
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2019-04-22) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Churyumov, Anton
    Tatyana utters a well wish that people say during Tsagan Sar.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Maria Pozharova, incantations, signs and prohibitions
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2019-06-11) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Churyumov, Anton
    Maria says that every whirlwind has a shulm (evil spirit) sitting in the middle and spinning the wind around. When a whirlwind passes near you, throw a knife and sprinkle water into it, while saying the following incantation: ‘Shulm, shulm where are you going to? Don’t come to us!’ Hair that falls during combing should be destroyed in a fire. Otherwise, ‘dogam’ spirits may use the lost hair to influence the person to whom the hair locks belonged. Old clothes should be also disposed of by burning.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Bosya Barzueva, a well wish
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2019-05-07) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Sandzhiev, Artur
    Bosya wishes that Kalmykia develops, the coming year brings all people happiness, grass and crops grow well, all people have plenty to eat, and the Head of Kalmykia works for the wellbeing of the republic. She ends her well wish by asking Buddhas and ancestral spirits for protection.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Vladimir Boldyrev, My Well Wish to Young Kalmyks
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2018-07-22) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Churyumov, Anton
    Vladimir says that in the past Kalmyk elders were expected to give advice to young people. He utters a well-wish: ‘May all your actions be righteous. May land be gracious to you. May you and your relatives live in health and prosperity. May you live long and be happy!’ Vladimir also wishes that the Kalmyk youth do not forget their native tongue.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Maria Mudzhikova, Anna Shurguchinova, A Well Wish for a Success in One's Work
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2018-06-10) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Churyumov, Anton; Sandzhiev, Artur
    Maria and Anna say a well-wish for a success in one’s work. ‘Let your life be long. May you grow well and develop. May you live long in peace and happiness. Let your needs be fulfilled and deities protect you. Let people not talk badly about you and dogs not bark. Let your words be valuable and your actions promising. May the deities protect you!’