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Leonid Khochiev, About Traditional Bans

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Terbish, Baasanjav 


Leonid talks about ban and traditions: There were many taboos and bans in the past. Today young people do not observe them. It was forbidden for a bride to go barefoot or without covering her head in front of her husband’s relatives. Kalmyks made fresh tea for their guests. After a well-wish, guests were offered alcohol. Kalmyks called vodka idyan or gashun idyan, meaning ‘food’ or ‘bitter food’. My grandmother used to say that people should not hold their hands behind their backs or cross their hands on the chest. Other taboos included abstaining from setting out on a journey if someone has poured dirty water on the road and not looking back when a journey has started. I do not know the meaning of these taboos. Also, Kalmyks slaughtered a sheep by tearing off its aorta and not by cutting its throat as people do today.



Taboo, bans

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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