The death of Diana, Princess of Wales, on August 31st 1997, led to extraordinary activity by millions of people as they reacted to the news in unexpected and seemingly unprecedented ways.Among the most fascinating phenomena were the many notes which were left for, about and to Diana, at the many ‘shrines’ which sprang up around Britan. This paper will explore the multivalent nature of these notes –the extent to which they reflected folk belief about sainthood, heaven and divinity; the extent to which they were political comment veiled in the conventions of mourning; the extent to which they were either magnifications of common vernacular practice or a new development within it. These remarkable documents were both personal and communal, public and private; t could be argued that they give a unique insight into popular religiosity in Britan at the turn of the Milennium.
Albasty is one of the most commonly known malevolent beings among Turkic peoples from the Altay Mountains via the Caucasus and up as far as the Volga River. This article focuses on Turkic data from the Volga region (Chuvash, Tartar, Bashkir) and the Eurasian Steppe (Kazak, Kyrgyz, Nogay, Uzbek). Various areas can be ascertained on the basis of verbal charms and folk-belief narratives. On the Eurasian Steppe, for example, Albasty was first and foremost a puerperal demon. In this territory, specialists (kuuču) were called in to keep away or oust the demon at birth. Many recorded legends and memorates concern healing methods and the process of becoming a healer. In contrast, epic texts or narratives are rarer,in the Volga region, yet there are certain verbal incantations against the Albasty, which here is rather a push or disease demon.
There are seven silver and brass charms called khiar (“cucumber”) in the Armenian History Museum’s collection of amulets. They originated in Moks, Gyavash and other regions of Western Armenia and in Yerevan (Eastern Armenia) in the 19th century. These ornamented charms with pendants and chains are prismatic and cylindrical in shape. They are hollow and are supposed to have written prayers inside them, though only one paper is preserved.Like the plant itself, these khiar-s symbolize the phallus with its connotations of fertility, fruitfulness, renewal, rebirth, revival. These objects are also believed to give protection from evil spirits and the evil eye.Owing to these meanings women used to wear khiar-s, believing that the objects would protect them from harm and help them to have children. In popular beliefs it was common to ascribe preternatural power to parts of the human body. And the most important parts were the endings — head, feet, hair, nails and phallus, which embodied the idea of growth and initiated life.Phallic decorations of different periods are valuable not only from the point of view of folk beliefs but also as precious samples of decorative art.
The present article deals with two legitimising elements to be found in the Turkic epic cycle Edige. According to oral tradition Edige’s genealogy goes back to Angšïbay who married a heavenly swan girl thus laying foundation to the Manghit clan. But in the same oral tradition Edige’s forefather is identified with a Muslim saint (
) called Baba Tükles. The article tries to analyse the process of linking the Muslim tradition of Baba Tükles, who in written sources appears as the Islamiser of the Golden Horde, to a pre-Islamic tradition about the superiority of a clan originating form a heavenly swan girl. Similarly to folklore and oral tradition, modern religious traditions also display the elements of Islamised folk belief and Central Asian Muslim (e.g. Sufi) traditions, where worshiping ancestor spirits is often intermingled with the respect for Muslim saints who were Islamisers or Sufi practitioners. Some historical and ethnographical data are presented to elucidate the parallel processes that took place in folklore and religious traditions.
Vilmos Diószegi was led to a study of Siberian shamanism by research into the pre-conquest, archaic stratum of Hungarian folk belief and folk customs, the still unsolved mystery of Hungarian ethnogenesis. He made three research trips in Southern Siberia (1957, 1958, 1964), and one in Northern Mongolia (1960). Shamanism was a taboo subject for Soviet-Russian researchers in the Soviet Union in the early 1960s, and Siberia was closed to foreign researchers. He pressed on and carried out his planned fieldwork, always supplementing his fieldwork with research in local museums, libraries and datafiles, establishing professional, scholarly and human contacts which were to serve him well later when he edited his international volumes of studies, and created and continuously expanded the Shaman Archive. The scholarly legacy of Vilmos Diószegi, the Shaman Archive, after his death did not remain intact. Vilmos Diószegi's manuscripts, books, photographs and sound recordings are now officially preserved in four places: the Institute of Ethnology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Museum of Ethnography in Budapest, the Institute of Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and in the apartment of his widow, Judit Morvay, in Szentendre. Between 1998 and 2002, when taking stock of his scholarly legacy, I tried to visit all the places where his scattered legacy is preserved. The following overview is based on this work.
kirgizskikh verovanii, Baksï kak lekar‘ i koldun (Etnograficheskii ocherk) [From the Field of Kirgiz FolkBelief, Baksï as Healer and Sorcerer] . Izvestiia Obshchestva arkheologii, istorii i etnografii pri imperatorskom Kazanskom universitete 15 ( 3 ): 307
– Síklaki , István – Terestyéni , Tamás (eds.) Nyelv – Kommunikáció – Cselekvés , 123 – 166 . Budapest : Osiris Kiadó . (Orig. pub.: 1982 ).
Dömötör , Tekla 1981 A magyar nép hiedelmvilága [Hungarian FolkBeliefs] . Budapest : Corvina
]. I-III. Pest.
ERDÉSZ, Sándor 1958: Állattá változás a nyírségi népi hiedelmekben [Transformation into animal form in folkbeliefs of the Nyírség region], in: Jósa András Múzeum Évkönyve I . 215-226.
Állattá változás a
-1963: (period of collecting) Magyar néphit és népszokás lexikon [Lexicon of Hungarian folkbelief and folk customs]. Ethnológiai Adattár (EA = Ethnological Archiv in the Hungarian Ethnographic Museum) 6186. 319,320,322,667. (manuscript
, Maja 1953: Splet naših narodnih praznovjerja oko vještice i popa. [A Selection from Our FolkBeliefs Regarding Witches and Priests].
Bilten Instituta za Prončavanje Folklora
II. Sarajevo, 327–342.