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Bull - the personification of winter for Yakuts

  • Published in Culture
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The Yakuts still preserve a large stratum of knowledge about their native culture, including folklore and beliefs.

One of the main difficulties of life of the people of Sakha has always been and remains a harsh winter. Exorbitant freezing temperatures have created a unique image of the winter – the white bull with blue spots. It is with the bull the Yakuts personify the winter. In late fall the white bull comes out of the Arctic Ocean and its frosty breath sends the cold to the earth. When it completely leaves the ocean the winter begins.

By the end of January, the winter reaches its peak. The day before the end of the month the mighty eagle comes flying from the south - a symbol of heavenly heat, it shovels snow from the nest, squawking loudly. The eagle’s scream make the spirit of winter retreat, the bull alternately breaks the horns, and then the head falls off by the spring. During the ice drift the body of the winter bull floats down the Lena River to the Arctic Ocean, the ice drift takes the souls of people and livestock that having died over the winter. The winter bull is associated with the evil spirits. People don’t perform any rituals and don't make sacrifice. This is the embodiment of imminent disaster.

Nikolai Kychkin