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Vladimir Boldyrev, About Funerals

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Terbish, Baasanjav 


In this video Vladimir talks about the funerary ritual: After the removal of the deceased from the house, a fire should be made. It is forbidden to step over the fire, especially for women. In the olden days, Kalmyks cremated their dead using wood, hot butter and animal dung. Only lamas were present at the cremation. Four or five lamas, who read prayers. After the fire died off, the ashes were put in a box and scattered over water. Kalmyks also buried their dead. Before the burial, the deceased was wrapped in a felt carpet or a rug. There were some differences among Kalmyk clans as to in what direction the head of the deceased should be laid. The Erketen clan laid their deceased facing the west, the Baguds – the east. Dalg which is a ritual of granting wealth and happiness of the deceased to his/her living relatives, should be performed by a woman prior to the burial. Sugar, milk and butter are mixed in a cup in small quantities. One holds the cup over the body of the deceased and moves it clockwise and then counter clockwise three times from the head to the feet. Afterwards, the cup is put on the altar for some time. The contents should be shared among relatives, including children, of the deceased. About respect for ancestors. Kalmyks were respectful of their elders and ancestors. They performed a ritual of making food offerings to a fire in order to receive blessings from their ancestors. Meat, which is cooked for the ritual, should be consumed only by relatives. After the ritual, food leftovers are to be thrown into the fire and the ashes buried.



Funeral, rituals

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Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge

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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin