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Nogan Belveeva, Zul



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Churyumova, Elvira 
Boskhomdzhiev, Mergen 


Nogan says that the ancestors of the Kalmyks did not cook meat but khyalmsh (a dish made from butter and flour) during Zul. The celebratory table was laid with biscuits (khavtkha and togsh varieties) tea and khyalmsh. In the past, only men celebrated their birthdays during Zul. Prior to the holiday, people tidied up their homes and made birthday candles. A special grass was collected, dried and cut 4 fingers long. The grass stems were wrapped with cotton and covered with melted butter. The number of grass stems in candles was more by 1 or 2 stems than the actual age of the person for whom the candle was dedicated. During Zul people visited their relatives, and the elders congratulated younger people. Nogan says that her mother in-law used to wake up early in the morning, make food and invite the elders for a celebration. A well-wish uttered during Zul is as follows: ‘Let your birthday be happy/ Let your life road be clear and without obstacles/ Let all people live in health and happiness’. During Zul it is forbidden to throw out bones left from meals. Bones should be disposed of by burning.



Zul, holiday, well-wish, birthday, candles, celebration

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