Symbols and Functions of Masks and Ritual Mummery of the Mordovians

Elena Frolova, Galina Kornishna, Nadejda Belyaeva


The topic relevance is based on a theoretical analysis of data associated with ritual culture of the Mordovian people, structural and functional analysis of its components, identification of their formation and development regularities and their interaction with each other. The purpose of this article is to describe the role and importance of masks and mummery in traditional rites of Moksha and Erzya, to identify general and specific characteristics of these constituent elements in rites of the Mordovians and other peoples of the Volga region. The main method used in the study is a comparative method, supplemented by ethnographic methods, such as direct observation and interviews. The article describes one of the elements of the traditional rites of the Mordvinians’ mummery. There were different techniques practiced in the rites of Moksha and Erzya: they used masks, costumes, household objects. Putting a mask or a costume on, a person transformed into his character - an animal or any other creature of the beyond. In this regard, the person changed his behavior; he often went beyond the accepted norms. Later the custom of mummery lost its magical sense and became a way of entertainment, especially for young people and children.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2015.v6n6s5p286

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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