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Ekaterina Dorzhieva, kishg durdh

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Terbish, Baasanjav 


Ekaterina talks about a funerary ritual: When a person dies, the living utter well wishes so that the deceased does not suffer in the afterlife and leaves his/her ‘happiness’ or ‘blessing’ behind for the relatives. It is believed that those who have received this kind of ‘blessing’ live happily. Through well wishes people also ask the spiritual masters of nature to protect them. In order to transfer this ‘blessing’ from the dead to the living, people perform the ritual of gal tyalg (fire ritual). A sheep is killed, and candles are lit. The elders utter well wishes, and put offerings, including biscuits, sweets, and other foodstuff, on the altar. These offerings are later divided among the relatives. During the ritual people ask for happiness for both themselves and their livestock. The ritual should include a knowledgeable person who can read special prayers, ring the bell, and light incense in the house. On the outside, people burn butter on a fire. The livestock and the whole house and the courtyard are purified with incense. At the end, all participants say well wishes, eat, and drink tea.



Ritual, funeral, fire

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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