Alexei Naranov, about gal tyalgn

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Terbish, Baasanjav 

For the ritual of gal tyalgn people choose a yellow sacrificial sheep. Its bones are put together, covered with wood and burned. While it is burning, fat from the broth made from the sheep’s meat is sprinkled on top of the fire. The smell from the burning bones and fat go up to our ancestors. During the ritual, ancestors and deceased relatives are asked by the living to look after them and their clan. Sometimes it happens that one’s deceased parents or relatives come back in one’s dreams, asking for food. In this case, on the advice of a monk, relatives conduct this ritual. It is also performed as a part of a funerary ritual. Sometimes it is also done on the advice of astrologists. Gal tyalgn involves the preparation of food for many participants. During the ritual, when fat is being poured onto the fire, people utter ‘khuru, khuru’. A ‘deezh’, or first offering, includes a sheep’s skull and ears. It is important to choose a good place for this ritual. It has to be both clean and on top of a hill because this way it is closer to the sky. The fire is made from clean wood as well. After killing the sacrificial sheep, its meat is cooked. Half of the meat is dedicated to the ancestors, and the other half is consumed by the participants themselves.

Ritual, gal tyalgn, fire, sacrifice, sheep
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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin