Repository logo

Alexandra Sanzheeva, Bans and Bad Omens

Change log


Terbish, Baasanjav 


Alexandra recounts traditional bans, prohibitions and bad omens:In the olden days, since there were no schools or educational centers, for many Kalmyks learning proverbs, sayings, legends and prohibitions was a way to acquire knowledge. There is this ban. You should not mimic people who have a speech defect, for if you do so you may end up having the same problems. It is also forbidden to run, scream, sing or cry in the evening. In the past, girls were prepared from an early age that they would live a life in which they would depend on the leftovers from their in-laws. There were many taboos for pregnant women as well. For example, it was forbidden for pregnant women to step over a rope, to stand on the threshold of their house, or to walk barefoot or without a scarf in the presence of older relatives. Traditionally, Kalmyks were discouraged from sleeping during sunset, or putting a shovel down vertically after using it. It was also considered a bad omen when an owl cried near one’s house. A dog’s howl was also another bad omen. Teeth grinding at night was also considered to be a really bad omen.



Bans, prohibitions, bad omens

Is Part Of


Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge

Publisher DOI

Publisher URL

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