Kurban in the Context of the Gagauz Orthodox Identity: History and Modernity

Kvilinkova E.N.

271–289 p.

doi.org: 10.22378/he.2021-6-2.271-289

In this article, the Kurban rite (animal sacrifice), which occupies an important place in the Gagauz calendar and family rituals, is analyzed through the prism of Orthodox identity. The form and content of various varieties of this rite are considered, as well as its role and significance in the ethnocultural code of the Gagauz people. The author especially dwells on the study of the qurban of the church, in which the elements of Christian-pagan syncretism are clearly manifested. Based on the analysis, it is concluded that over time, the Kurban rite among the Gagauz people acquired the form of a ritual institution and became an important component of Orthodox rituals. The fact that it has survived is not a small merit of the Orthodox clergy. The article provides information that in the second half of the 20th – early 21st centuries. As a result, the ritual acquired a more Christianized form, but, despite this, some of its archaic features continue to be preserved. It is emphasized that in the Gagauz folk-religious culture this form of sacrifice is associated with the Old Testament tradition – the Abrahamic sacrifice, the plot of which is widely represented in the Gagauz song folklore. It is concluded that both the ethnic component of the Gagauz Orthodoxy and their characteristic Balkan cultural and regional identity are clearly expressed in private and general holiday celebrations, of which Kurban is an integral part. In conclusion, it is noted that the Kurban rite continues to remain an important part of the Gagauz Orthodox rituals and identity, being an integral component of their ethnocultural code. This is evidenced by the degree of preservation of this institution of sacrifice and its significance in the religious and folk ideas of the Gagauz people.

Keywords: kurban, sacrifice, Gagauz, Orthodox identity, ethnocultural code

For citation: Kvilinkova E.N. Kurban v kontekste gagauzskoy pravoslavnoy identichnosti: istoriya i sovremennost [Kurban in the Context of the Gagauz Orthodox Identity: History and Modernity]. Istoricheskaya etnologiya, 2021, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 271–289. https://doi.org/10.22378/he.2021-6-2.271-289


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About the author: Elizaveta N. Kvilinkova, Doctor Sc. (History), Associate Professor, Leading Research Fellow, K. Krapiva Institute of Art History, Ethnography and Folklore, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus (1/2 Surganov St., Minsk 220072, Republic of Belarus); cvilincova@mail.ru

Received April 12, 2021   Accepted for publication November 22, 2021

Published Online November 29, 2021