Этническая культура (Mar 2022)

Genesis and Ritual Meaning of Belarusian «Volochobnye» Songs

  • Rimma M. Kovaliova

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 4, no. 1
pp. 11 – 14


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The article is devoted to the problems of the origin and ritual meaning of the spring «volochobnye» rituals of the Belarusian people. Those rituals have been analyzed through the mythological and ritual meaning of the «volochobnye» songs and in the comparison with the winter «Kolyada» rituals. The purpose of the article is discovering the common genre and mythological roots of the «volochobnye» and «kolyadnye» songs with attention to the reasons for different actualization of Christian motives. Based on the historical-genetic method, the origin of Belarusian «volochobnye» songs is associated with a chronomyth common to calendar rituals. Their ritual meaning is in magical recreation of the chronomyth through actualization of certain chrono-images, chronomotives, plot chronosituations in the songs. It has been revealed that the «kolyadnye» and «volochobnye» songs, which differ in the time of performance, look like the heirs of the hymnic archegenre, which arose from the most ancient magical exclamations through the development of a meaningful text. Both cycles retain common archaic features, but the genetic connection with the Christian ideology in the «volochobnye» songs is clearly higher due to the ritual integration of different calendars – natural, labor, and Christian. «Kolyadnye» and «volochobnye» songs correlate with parallel calendar systems, which is a consequence of the former dialectic nature of the ritual culture of the ancestors of the Belarusians. It has been concluded that with a certain coincidence of the areas of «kolyadnye» and «volochobnye» songs, the core of the latter is in Polesye, which can be considered as a result of the former dialectic nature of the calendar and ritual culture of the proto-Belarusian tribes, the parallel existence of different calendar systems and thereby close the problem of the historical primogeniture of either «volochobnye» songs or «kolyadnye» songs as scientifically irrelevant.