Home    Number 4, 2011

The Holiday of Semyk in the Ethnic Culture of Contemporary Mari

Type of publication: Research Article

About author(s)

Tamara L. Molotova | marnii@mari-el.ru


traditions, rites, prohibitions, semyk, ancestor worship


Semyk is one of the most esteemed holidays among the Mari and acts as a symbol of the start of the summer celebrations cycle. Ancestral rites are a particular feature of Semyk, which is held in June, seven weeks after the sorta keche day dedicated to the remembering of the deceased. Vegetation cults, protective magic rites, prohibitions, bath taking, as well as youth recreation and games were aspects of the ritual composition of the celebration. When atheist ideology was dominant, the celebration was under a ban; yet rites related to the remembrance of ancestors were still followed. It was not until the 1990s that it grew into a holiday that would be openly observed in villages. Presently the date of observing Semyk is indicated in Mari’s calendars that also feature other holidays, beliefs, and important cultural events.


Molotova, T.L. 2011. The Holiday of Semyk in the Ethnic Culture of Contemporary Mari. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 4: 40-47

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