The veneration of land-water in the tradition of the northern Khakas Kyzyls (late 19th  mid-20th century) 

Burnakov V.A.


Vestnik arheologii, antropologii i etnografii, 2021, 3 (54)


              page 196205




The paper discusses current scientific issues related to the study of the traditional worldview and ritualism of the Khakas people. The work is focused on the analysis of the traditional festival of veneration of land-water by the Kyzyls an ethnic group of the Khakas living in the northern part of Khakassia and in the south of Krasnoyarsk Krai. The characteristic of the ritual complex associated with the worship of the host-spirits is presented: the land spirits (mountains) tag taig, and the water spirits (springs, lakes, rivers) sug taiyg. The main sources of the research are unpublished field ethnographic materials. Archival ethnographic information related to this topic, collected in the 1970s by M.S. Usmanova and other researchers from the Tomsk State University, are introduced in the scientific discourse. In the process of studying the indicated problem, it was found that in the culture of the Khakas, including the Kyzyl people, an important place was given to the worship of their native land sher-sug taiyg. In the religious-mythological consciousness, its specific personification was the spirit-masters of the mountains tag eezi, and the water spirits sug eezi. This worldview was due to the natural landscape of the territory in which they live. It features a mountainous terrain with a range of diverse water bodies the streams, rivers, lakes, etc. The daily domestic life and economic activities of the ethnic community in question were directly related to them. It is argued that in the worldview of the people, connection between the human and nature goes beyond the framework of rational interaction. They were convinced of the close mystical interrelation of natural objects with the life and well-being of people. One of the common ways to maintain a steady balanced relationship between them was the rituals of sacrifice and celebration of these supernatural beings. It was found that in the cult practice of the Kyzyls, the sher-sug taiyg included two or even three specialized rites tag / kol / sug taiyg, which were closely interconnected with each other and formed a single ritual complex. This sacralized event was held on a regular basis. It had a collective nature with a strictly defined structure, incorporating the leader and other immediate participants, as well as the victim themselves.

Keywords: traditional worldview of the khakas, kyzyls, rite, sacrifice, earth, mountain, water, sher-sug taiyg, shaman, image, symbol.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Accepted: 27.05.2020

Article is published: 27.08.2021


Burnakov V.A., Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of Siberian Branch RAS, prosp. Acad. Lavrentiev, 17, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russian Federation, E-mail:,