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Garya Naminov, Ur Sar and the Ritual of Offering to Ancestors

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Okonov, Andzhur 
Seleeva, Tsagan 


Garya says that in his childhood people who were fasting celebrated Ur Sar in a special way. Such fasting people, who were usually elderly, prepared a special dish from sour cream, flour, shuurmg, and khyurse, and gave it to children. It was considered that by doing this these people received a blessing. Ur Sar was celebrated in May. Besides private rituals, Ur Sar was celebrated widely by organizing public events. Garya is a member of the Noynakhn tribe which consists of 8 clans. Every year the members of each clan travel to their ancestral land to perform a fire ritual for their ancestors. Garya is himself from the Barun clan whose ancestral land is called Nost. Garya himself was born in Nost. Every year on 2 May Garya with other members of his clan travel to Nost. Once in two to three years they take a Buddhist monk with them to lead the ritual and read prayers. In the absence of a monk, it is the elderly who lead the ritual. The food offered to ancestors consists of what the living eat, including sweets, butter, biscuits etc. In the place of worship, the pilgrims kill a sacrificial sheep by a traditional method of opening its belly and pulling a vein. All food offerings are set on a fire. It is believed that the ancestors hear and see what their descendants do. This ritual pleases the ancestors very much.



Ur Sar, ritual, offerings, ancestors

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