About this collection

This video collection hosts stories about daily activities in Kalmyk families, both traditional and modern.

A day in a traditional Kalmyk family begins with the opening of the curtains to let light in, cooking breakfast, and attending to the family altar. It is usually the young bride's duty to wake up first, cook, look after the household, put offerings on the altar, and go to bed last. During the day, every member of the family is assigned activities based on gender, age, and hierarchy. Men are supposed to be bread-winners, undertake physically demanding chores, and represent the family, whereas women and girls are expected to do domestic work. Before setting off on a long journey, Kalmyks visit their close relatives or invite them home to perform a ritual called khaalg yoryallgn in order to secure a successful and safe journey. It is also forbidden to take out rubbish so as not to pollute the journey. Guests are treated with a cup of tea or tobacco and are expected to be seen off outside the flat or house. At dusk, it is forbidden for women to visit other people's homes or even go out. Other activities that are discouraged in the evening are taking certain types of products, including milk, yoghurt, cheese, salt, and matches out of the house.

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