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Key words
bear merrymaking, bear songs, hunting cult, Northern Khanty
About the Author
10, Gagarina str., Khanty-Mansiysk, 628011, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug — Yugra, Russian Federation
Head of the club institution "School for Bear merrymaking" of the Circuit House of Folk Creativity E-mail:
Tel.: +7 (3467) 32-15-62

This paper deals with songs, dedicated to the bear, which were performed during the course of the rituals, dedicated to celebration of trophy of a bear, Bear Merrymaking. Material for research consists of recordings of the 1990s, carried out among the Khanty in upper stream and estuary of the Kazym river. The study presents the folk typology of bear songs. The author reveals general and specific in performing order and content of the bear songs in Estuary-Kazym and Upper-Kazym versions of the feast. Songs recorded from neighboring rivers are distinguished from those of other territory-dialect groups of the Khanty. A difference in the quantity of singing a certain myth about the fantastic bear’s descent from the heaven. There in the Estuary-Kazym version it is performed once in the beginning of the ceremony, whereas during the Upper-Kazym feast it gets repeated for each bear, which is obtained by the guarding spirit.

Bear songs are considered in the context of similar texts, which have been recorded at different times from similar peoples, as well as compared with specimen of other folklore genres and actual convictions. A special attention is paid to the song about the bear’s delivery by the guardians of the Kazym Goddess, which are representatives of concrete families, who belong to the kindred of the same guarding spirit.


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