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Polina Fedorova, Kalmyk Traditions, Signs and Omens

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Gedeeva, Darina 
Babaev, Andrei 


One day a man was having a walk in the steppe. All of a sudden, something fell on his head from the sky. It was a bird's dropping. When the man came home and told his family what had happened to him in the steppe, his wife asked him to visit 49 households and beg without saying a single word. On seeing someone doing so, it was customary for people to take their children inside and close the doors. That is what people did when they saw the man begging. He did not enter the yurts but pushed his right hand through the wall, which was latticework, to ask for food. If people on such a mission did not manage to visit the necessary number of yurts, they could not sleep at home but had to spend the night out in the countryside. The next they would carry on their begging mission. The collected food was supposed to be donated to the closest Buddhist temple with accompanying prayers that had to be read 7 times. If there were no temples nearby, the beggars were supposed to find a place where three roads crisscrossed, put the collected food on the side of the west-facing road and pray 49 times by saying 'Let no one endure what I have to endure, and let my relatives and family be safe and sound'.



signs, omens, legend

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