Traditions of the Buryat people: between East and West
The traditions and customs of the Buryat people were mainly formed within the great Mongolian ethnic group. Many of their generations experienced the strongest cultural impact from the peoples of Central Asia, and after they became part of Russia, they also found themselves in the zone of influence of Western Christian civilization. It is rather difficult to describe briefly the traditions of the Buryat people, as they are very colorful and diverse.
Society and way of life
In everyday life, the Buryats clearly showed the features of a patriarchal-clan society. The Uluses were divided into clans, then into families, and each Buryat should have known their ancestors, to be able to name their ancestors in the male line right up to the ninth generation.
The nomadic people sacredly adhered to the traditions of mutual aid. When performing particularly labor-intensive work requiring a large number of people, representatives of the clan came to the rescue of the person, helping, depending on the circumstances, to build a yurt, roll felt, organize a wedding or a funeral.
The tradition of the Buryat people is the custom to invite representatives of the genus to fresh meat, when they slaughtered a ram or a bull. Particularly strict were the rules in relation to hunting.
The worship of white color can be attributed to the traditions of the Buryat people that are curious for children. So, the guest of honor was always staged on white-felt felt, and the shamans preferred to wear light-colored clothing. People of noble family called themselves “white bone” as opposed to commoners, who were considered to be “black bone”.
Games and holidays
The customs of the Buryat people, most interesting for children, are undoubtedly customs related to games, holidays, fun. The life of the Buryat herders was not so boring and monotonous, as it can be imagined.
Coming together, the hunters amused themselves by the fact that they reproduced the sounds of animals as well as the voices of birds as carefully as possible. The winner was the one who completed the task with maximum accuracy. These games include "Huraine Naadan", "Shonin Naadan" and others.
Dance is a universal language capable of expressing life around. So did the Buryats, who reflected their nomadic everyday life in the dances.What are the names: "The game of a camel and a camel", "Mockingbird's dance", "Dressing of leather".
The traditions of the Buryat people also include the annual ritual cutting of horses. Each spring, the owner cut his horses, after which he threw into the fire white hairs from the mane and tail along with pieces of meat, and also treated the guests.
The main unit of society was considered a monogamous family, which included its head, his wife, children and parents. According to the traditions of the Buryat people, the younger son with his wife had to live with his father and mother to take care of them.
The custom was not strict with respect to polygamy. It was possible to acquire a second wife, however, the obstacle to this was the large size of the kalym - the bride price. Particularly enterprising and not very rich Romeo preferred to kidnap brides so as not to puzzle over the money side of the matter.
The custom of making an engagement of the bride and groom as early as infancy was one of the traditions of the Buryat people. The matchmakers came and bargained for a long time about the size of the kalym, making allowances for the financial situation of the parties.
Andalat is one of the interesting traditions of the Buryat people.Two families with children of both sexes, who are not able to pay a large dowry, simply exchanged brides for their sons from among daughters.
The wise Buryats carefully observed the principle of exogamy, that is, the inadmissibility of incest. The bride must be chosen without fail from a different kind, even if the kinship was conditional and expressed in a common ancestor after nine generations, a strict taboo was imposed on such a union.
Buryat weddings still represent a very colorful spectacle. The traditional ceremony consists of several stages: conspiracy, matchmaking, setting the day, paying the kalym, bachelorette party, searching the bride and sending a convoy, waiting at the groom's house, triumph, and consecration of the new family hearth.
The religious side of the wedding ceremony changed over time. Initially, the Buryats trusted their shamans and, according to their prescriptions, gladly indulged in libations in honor of the ancestral spirits. Joining Buryat to Buddhism has changed the religious component of the wedding. A great influence has gained Lama. He personally determined the date of the marriage, the suit of wedding horses and other subtleties.
Children occupy a special position in the life of Buryats. Sons continue their clan, daughters replenish the family budget at the expense of kalyms. In general, without children anywhere. Hence the custom of adopting foreign babies when the woman was barren. In addition, according to tradition, the man had the right to take a second wife into the house if the first could not give birth.
Infant mortality in primitive society was quite high, but these misfortunes attributed to the machinations of evil spirits, from which they tried to protect themselves. Thus, the birth of babies in the world has acquired a whole complex of magical rituals and ceremonies.
There was also one curious custom in naming a newborn. In that case, if the family has already suffered a whole series of early childhood deaths, the baby was called a deliberately ugly name to scare evil spirits. So among the Buryats appeared guys with the names of Balta (stone), Teneg (stupid), Hazagay (curve).
Different groups of Buryats in their own way buried the dead. Before the arrival of Buddhism, the dead were buried in the ground, burned, left in the forest. Those who were struck by lightning were considered to be the chosen ones of the sky and saw off with a special honor.They were dressed in the costume of a sorcerer, taken to a special shaman grove and laid on the platform, leaving food and wine nearby.
With the advent of Lamaism, and later of Christianity, the life of Buryats has changed significantly. Especially abrupt changes occurred in the 20th century, but the spirit of the original people remained unchanged.