Sofya Olzeeva, Maternal and Paternal Relatives
Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge
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Terbish, B., & Churyumova, E. (2015). Sofya Olzeeva, Maternal and Paternal Relatives [Video file]. https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.42553
Sofya talks about maternal and paternal relatives and their functions at Kalmyk weddings: Maternal relatives are called ‘nagtsnr’. Traditionally, maternal relatives have always been held in high regard. It was believed that those who respected their maternal relatives live long and happily. Maternal relatives are always seated in places of honor and are served food first. At weddings, however, it is one’s paternal relatives that command more respect. For example, a maternal aunt is never included in the wedding delegation for the bride. When I was young, I was not allowed to be in my brother’s wedding delegation. Nor was my husband Sergei included, because we were like two fingers always together. I discuss this topic of maternal relatives in my book. One’s maternal aunts are referred to as ‘nagts egchnr’. One’s mother’s brother is referred to as ‘nagts baajaa’ whereas her sister as ‘nagts jaajaa’. People did not use the first names of their maternal relatives when addressing. Paternal relatives are referred to as ‘uynr’. Paternal relatives within 3 generations are considered as close relatives. Close relatives do not marry each other. In the past, the Kalmyks did not call their relatives by their first names, instead they used other forms of address, including such words as baajaa, ik baajaa, bichkn baajaa, ik aak, bichkn aak. This was done out of respect to relatives. It were paternal relatives that participated in all important decisions that affected the clan. Hence, during weddings, paternal relatives have an important role to play. They bring the bride for the wedding, see her off, occupy the most prestigious seats at the wedding.
Maternal relatives, paternal relatives, wedding
Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.42553