Mäetagused vol. 60


Political Rituals and Discourses: The Case of Carinthia

Jurij Fikfak

Keywords: alternative practices, memorial walk, Nazism, plebiscite, ritual practices, use of discourse

This article discusses selected ritual practices in Klagenfurt (Sln. Celovec), the capital of the southernmost Austrian state of Carinthia (Germ. Kärnten). The first ritual is connected with October 10, when the 1920 plebiscite is commemorated on the streets of Klagenfurt. In this plebiscite, the majority of people voted for remaining a part of Austria, the successor state to Austria-Hungary. The second ritual is a more recent one, known as the Memorial Walk (Germ. Gedenkgehen, Sln. Spominska hoja). Various cultural practices are analysed, as well as the use of symbols and space, media, state, and national discourses.

The Feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Bessarabia and Crimea, Ukraine

Ekaterina Anastasova

Keywords: European Union, Russia, St. Clement, St. Cyril and Methodius, Ukrainian revival

The feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius (May 11–24) and the life and work of the two brothers occupy a central place in the Bulgarian national paradigm. Their life and work are celebrated by all Slavic nations (with different accents and on different dates in the national/church calendars). The feast is celebrated among the Bulgarian Diaspora in Ukraine (the largest Bulgarian community outside Bulgarian boarders) and it also has a place in the official state calendar of the country.

This paper deals with the celebrations of the feast in Bessarabia (Odessa) and Crimea (Sevastopol), Ukraine, among the Bulgarians and Ukrainians; the life stories of the two brothers; interpretations of their origin, works, and significance for the Slavic cultures of both communities (Bulgarians and Ukrainians). The analysis shows the dynamics of interpretations of the lives and work of the two saints in different national paradigms and state priorities.

Sacred Places – Destinations of Journeys and Pilgrimages

Mare Kõiva, Andres Kuperjanov, Liisa Vesik

Keywords: monastery, new religious movements, pilgrimage, prophetism, sacred places, Thracian belief, Vanga, White Brotherhood

Most pilgrimage destinations in Bulgaria are related to sanctuaries of the Bulgarian Orthodoxy, or Islamic sanctuaries (visited by people of different denominations, and some evolved into bi-religious sites); Jewish sanctuaries are involved in international routes visiting the graves of rabbis.

Newer spiritual movements include prophetess Baba Vanga’s church and monastery, reconstruction of the ancient Thracian belief, and the Great White Brotherhood founded by Peter Dunov in the early 20th century; the last is notable for holding natural monuments sacred.

Contemporary pilgrimage routes and trends in visiting sacred sites have brought forth various issues and trends. Personal initiatives in the reinvention of sacral places and pilgrimages, the phenomenon of bi-religious sanctuaries, as well as economic and cultural bonds of pilgrimage destinations would be some of them.

Kingship and Royal Temple Politics in Sumer and Akkad in 2500–2154 BCE

Vladimir Sazonov

Keywords: Akkad, dynasty, ideology, Kish, kingship, Lagash, Nippur, politics, priest, religion, ruler, Sargonic kings, temple, Umma, Ur, Uruk

In this article, the author has raised a few questions concerned with the relations of rulers and temples: temple politics of the rulers of the Late Presargonic period (the Early Dynastic III, ca. 2500–2335 BCE) and the Sargonic period (2334–2154 BCE) in Sumer and Akkad.

The first written records of the subdual of the main temples and sanctuaries by Sumer rulers date back to not earlier than ca 2500–2400 BCE, but this politics of subjection still remained irregular until the end of the Early Dynastic Period and it was not yet a strong ruling instrument used by kings. It seems that during this period these politics were not yet regularly applied by rulers and only some Early Dynastic kings sometimes used them.

However, the situation changed dramatically when Sargon of Agade established the Akkadian Empire in the late 24th century BCE. The Akkadian kings (Sargonids) were the first rulers in the Mesopotamian region who had established a large territorially centralised state with its own administrative system and a relatively complex bureaucracy. On the hierarchical top of the state administration was a strong and powerful king with unlimited power, who was sometimes even deified (e.g. the case of Narām-Su’en of Akkad). The unifying politics of the Akkadian kings were carried out in all spheres of statehood, ideology, and, of course, cult. For that reason, the Sargonic kings tried to unify the calendar systems and rituals. They also tried to create a unified Sumero-Akkadian pantheon that was meant to be universal for all the inhabitants of the empire. Undoubtedly, the Akkadian kings wished to control the peripheral regions of their kingdom. This was the time when the unification of the measurement system also took place.

Certainly some important changes occurred in the state’s religious politics – the subjection of priesthood and the most influential temples of the Akkadian state. Sargon and his successors – kings of Akkad – systematically assigned their daughters and sons or other relatives to key positions in temple hierarchies as top administrators, or high priests or priestesses. They wanted to keep the main cults of their state entirely under control, but also to control temples economically, because some temples were quite rich and owned treasuries, slaves, cattle, and land. This became part of the new centralised political course or, to be more exact, the political programme of the Sargonic kings.

Centre of Orthodoxy as Seen by Estonian Orthodox: Results of a Qualitative Research

Liina Eek

Keywords: antagonism, dimensions of religion, Orthodoxy in Estonia, qualitative research method, religious identity

The article points to the aspects of Orthodoxy that Estonian-language Orthodox regard as essential. The results discussed in the article were obtained in the course of a religious-sociological study. The article presents plenty of citations from interviews, which explain why people consider Orthodoxy as special and different from other confessions. Answers are categorised on the basis of Ninian Smart’s classification of the dimensions of religion.

The informants mentioned all the seven dimensions of religion as being in the centre of Orthodoxy: practical and ritual, narrative and mythic, experiential and emotional, social and institutional, ethical and legal, doctrinal and philosophical, and material. The aspects referred to most often were related to experiential and emotional and ritual dimensions. The informants emphasised the experientiality of Orthodoxy, the stability of traditions, and genuine prayer life in comparison with other confessions, which, in combination, makes the Orthodox feel cosy and homelike. Orthodoxy is seen as consistent and all-embracing, enabling freedom of thought and action. The absence of a strict application of the canons of the church (oikonomia) inherent in Orthodoxy tends to be used as an excuse, to ignore the rules that seem to be unpleasant. The phenomena associated with the material dimension were also mentioned rather often. The philosophical dimension was more important for the clergy and those who had studied theology. The narrative dimension, especially the narrative about the arrival of Orthodoxy, occupied a central place among the Setomaa Orthodox. The ethical dimension in association with Christian love was mentioned more often than in connection with other ethical aspects, which were rather exceptional cases. Regarding the institutional dimension as the centre of Orthodoxy was also rather exceptional. The article also discusses shaping of the opinion about Orthodoxy, its connection to religious identity, and the role of opposition to other confessions therein.

News, overviews   

In memoriam

A Passing Era in Estonian Ethnology In memoriam Dr Ants Viires.
December 23, 1918 – March 18, 2015 - The eulogy is written by Aivar Jürgenson.

Veera Pino-Gubin June 26, 1925 – June 29, 2015 - The eulogy is written by Kristi Salve.

Memory, Remembering, and Legend

An overview of the Estonian folklorists’ 10th winter conference, held on February 26 and 27, 2015, is provided by Mare Kalda.

Folklore Collection at the Estonian Folklore Archives in 2014 and President’s Folklore Collection Award

An overview is given by Astrid Tuisk.

Phraseology Symposium in Poland

Piret Voolaid writes about the training seminar on the Estonian language for kindergarten teachers, which was organised by the Estonian Literary Museum on December 4 and 5, 2014.

Conference “Young Voices”

The 10th conference of young ethnologists and folklorists was held in the Exhibition House of the Estonian National Museum on April 29, and at the Estonian Literary Museum on April 30, 2015. An overview of the conference is brought to the reader by Ave Goršič and Piret Koosa.

Folklorists’ International Summer School on Seili Island

Anneli Baran recalls the 9th Folklore Fellows Summer School, Doing Folkloristics in the Digital Age, held in Finland on June 11–18, 2015.

SIEF 12th Congress in Zagreb about the Contemporary Use of Short Forms of Folklore

Piret Voolaid’s retrospect of the SIEF (International Society for Ethnology and Folklore) congress, Utopias, Realities, Heritages: Ethnographies for the 21st Century, held in Zagreb, Croatia, on June 21–25, 2015.


A brief summary of the events of Estonian folklorists from April to July 2015.

Contemporary Research of Traditional Figurative Speech

Phraseologie und Parömiologie. Series editors Wolfgang Eismann, Peter Grzybek, Wolfgang Mieder. Schneider Verlag Hohengehren. 1999–until today.

Claudia Aurich. Proverb Structure in the History of English: Stability and Change. A Corpus-Based Study. Phraseologie und Parömiologie 26. Edited by Wolfgang Eismann, Peter Grzybek, Wolfgang Mieder. Schneider Verlag Hohengehren: Baltmannsweiler. 2012. 314 pp.

Urška Valenčič Arh. “Ein Prinz auf der Erbse”. Phraseologie und Übersetzung. Am Beispiel der Kinder- und Jugendliteratur von Christine Nöstlinger im Deutschen und Slowenischen. Phraseologie und Parömiologie. Band 30. Edited by Wolfgang Eismann, Peter Grzybek, Wolfgang Mieder. Schneider Verlag GmbH. 2014. 317 pp. Overviews by Anneli Baran.

Nonviolence Loves Freedom

Guntis Šmidchens. The Power of Song. Nonviolent National Culture in the Baltic Singing Revolution. New Directions in Scandinavian Studies. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press. 416 pp. An overview by Taive Särg.