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The regional interactive encyclopedic portal «Bashkortostan»
Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Bashkortostan State autonomous institution of science of the Republic of Bashkortostan Bashkir encyclopedia


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KHUMAY is a mythological image, a Bashkir folklore character. K. is the daughter of Samrau, the tsar of the birds and the Sun in the Ural-batyrepic. Her mother washes her with water from the Yanshima (from Bashkir, literally-living spring) spring and she becomes immortal. She sometimes lives with her mother in the sky or with her father on the earth, she can look like a swan or a golden-haired girl. Azraka, Zarkum demons try to catch her. During the flood Zarkum has turned into a fish and swallowed the girl, then there is an eclipse of the Sun amd Akbuzat saves her. K. marries the earth batyr named Ural-batyr, presents him with an Akbuzat horse and damask sword, shows him the way to Yanshima spring. They have a son, Idel, who follows his mother advice and helps his father to defeat the evil powers. When Ural-batyr dies K. turns into a bird forever and flies away. Many years were to pass before she came back with other birds. She is the ancestor of the swans; Bashkir have revered the bird ever since.

K. is a bird, a protector of Khauban in the Akbuzatepic. “Khumay bird” fairytale shows that people choose a person to be their tsar if a bird sits on his shoulder. According to belief K. is the bird of happiness and if a person sees it, he becomes happy for the rest of his life. Its origin is connected with the Iranian mythological bird Khumay, which made a person happy by casting her shadow on him, according to one version; according to another version, its origin is connected with the ancient Turkic Godess Umay who personified the female principle. K. is common for mythology of Turkic-Mongol, Finno-Ugric and Iranian-speaking peoples.

Publication date: 21.07.2021
Last updated: 21.07.2021