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Mythological Characters of the Domestic Space in Russian Folk Beliefs: Lexicographic and Ethnographic Aspects

https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2016.44.3.130-138

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Abstract

Russian mythological characters relating to the domestic space are described on the basis on folkloric, ethnographic, and lexicographic sources. The integration of evidence has revealed transformations undergone by views of the male and female goblins (domovoy and kikimora, respectively), allowing us to compare local beliefs and stories featuring them in urban and rural areas of Russia and to reconstruct common Russian ideas of goblins with reference to the notion of linguistic and cultural literacy. The results demonstrate that the idea of domovoy is quite popular even among urban dwellers, generally matching traditional Russian beliefs. The domovoy is believed to be a home and family patron, either invisible or small and shaggy, an old man or a tomcat, supposed to be entertained with food and invited for a housewarming. Unlike the image of domovoy, that of kikimora has undergone substantial changes. Modern urban residents view kikimora mostly as an untidy ugly woman, sometimes called kikimora bolotnaya, the second word being an adjective of boloto, ‘bog’, thus turning her into a forest rather than domestic spirit. The idea of kikimora as a home spirit is still held by villagers, who view her either as a ghost or as a poltergeist-like doll. Domestic mythical characters, then, have changed without losing their vigor.

About the Authors

O. K. Ansimova
Novosibirsk State Technical University, Pr. K. Marksa 20, Novosibirsk, 630073, Russia
Russian Federation


O. V. Golubkova
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 17, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia
Russian Federation


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For citation:


Ansimova O.K., Golubkova O.V. Mythological Characters of the Domestic Space in Russian Folk Beliefs: Lexicographic and Ethnographic Aspects. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2016;44(3):130-138. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2016.44.3.130-138

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