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Anna Azvanova, About My Altar

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Terbish, Baasanjav 


This is Anna’s story:I did not have (images and statues of) gods before because my parents were orphans. In Siberia it was forbidden to have gods at home. After returning home from Siberia I have bought images and statues of buddhas. There are three days of fasting in each month. On such day I light a zul (a candle) on the altar and pray by uttering a well-wish ‘Let all people be in prosperity! Let all people be healthy and children grow up healthy!’ If someone is going on a long journey, then I pray for them by saying ‘Let all wishes be fulfilled!’ One can’t make food offerings from pork and poultry to the altar, but mutton can be offered. One can always put a bowl of Kalmyk tea, candies and biscuits. For example, today is 29th lunar day and tomorrow is the 30th lunar day, which is the day of fasting. The day after tomorrow is the 1st lunar day, that is a new month starts. I pray to deities - protectors of my clan, to Green Tara. I have (images of) Tsongkapa, Manjushri, Mahakala, White Tara. I also have books about religion, I read prayers from them. It is forbidden to light a zul at night or after sunset. One should light a zul in the morning, make Kalmyk tea and put the first bowl of tea on the altar as an offering to gods. After sunset it is also forbidden to take milk out of the house, as well as money (should not be loaned). After the lighting of a zul, seven days later there is day when gods migrate. Three days after that, it is forbidden to take rubbish out of the house.




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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