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Worship of water deities

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Bulag, Uradyn E. 


During the summer months of July and August, the Torghuts in Xinjiang worship oboo (ritual cairn). The oboo ritual in Bayanbulag involves a sub-ritual of water deities if there is a natural spring nearby. As shown in the video, a ritual is held for a spring called Shagdagin Bulag which is located in Har Sala. The ritual is held on the 15th of the seventh lunar month every year. This year, around 200 people gathered, most of them being relatives, to pray for blessing.Münkhbayar, who is head of Bayanbulag sumu, organised this year’s ritual. He explains in the video that the Torghuts led by their Buddhist monks would head to the mountains to visit the oboo on their horses and it is very uncommon for females to be present. According to a legend about Shagdagin Bulag which Münkhbayar tells, the spring water contains 8 natural positive elements. A Buddhist monk called Shagjindog was miraculously cured of his stomach disease after drinking the water.



Oboo worship, ritual, water deities, natural spring, disease

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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