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Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Bashkortostan State autonomous institution of science of the Republic of Bashkortostan Bashkir encyclopedia


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CURSING is a genre of ritual folklore, verbal formula, which aim to affect an object. It comes from belief about the magic of the words. It has poetic and prose form. It is uttered to attract bad luck, trouble etc. to the addressee. E.g.: “May you live without a husband! / Suffer like a goose, /Which has no goose-gander!” (Bashk.); “May you be born mad” (Ukr.), etc. An event, e.g. war can also be an object of C. The performer of the C. ritual (as a rule it is one or several women) goes to a field or climbs a mountain, unties her hair, embraces herself, crosses her legs and shouts the text loudly. It is believed that C. should not be uttered in a house during the sunrise. There are also antidote formulas that aim to neutralize and resist C.: “Let your cursing be with you” (Udm.); “May a crow live in the mouth that says curses!” (Bashk.) etc. The opposite notion of C. is blessing. Nowadays C. is morphing into the category of abusive words (“screw yourself”, “bad luck to you”, etc.). The negative of C. correlates with the prohibition to use it as it is believed that C. will return back to the person that has said it. E.g., Akkhak-kolaepic tells about a situation when a C. to a horse returns back to its owner who has broken his oath. The genre is common for many folklores. V.Ya. Babenko, T.G. Minniyakhmetova, M.A. Pilipak,

R.A. Sultangareyeva

Publication date: 22.06.2021
Last updated: 30.08.2021