The ethno-etiquette in the Yakut culture: sacred strategies and behavioral code 

Danilova N.K.


Vestnik arheologii, antropologii i etnografii, 2021, ¹ 4 (55)


              page 173182




The ethnic etiquette of the Yakuts demonstrates traditional culture, worldviews, and ritual and mythological practices. The historical and anthropological approach used in this study allowed us to consider motives and strategies of the behavior, customs and rituals in space and time. The study of folklore and ethnographic and linguistic materials made it possible to identify and analyze responses of the behavioral strategies that expand the boundaries of the developed space (travel customs and rituals), eliminate the “otherness” of a guest (an etiquette), and provide for communications between the man and the deities/spirits (a ritual). For the first time, archival and field materials on the guest and travel etiquette are introduced into scientific discourse. The aim of the study is to conduct a historical and cognitive analysis of the travel and guest etiquettes, which begin with overcoming the developed space the dwelling place. As the result, we have revealed that the travel etiquette is primarily aimed at ensuring that the traveler returns home without encountering any obstacles in his journey. To achieve that, they used words-taboos and made a sacrifice to the spirit of the fire and to the spirit of the road. The analysis of special travel terms has shown that the main guardian of the traveler is his horse, while the behavioral code serves as an assurance of a successful journey. Compliance with pre-travel and travel taboos and rules primarily contributed to a safe return of the traveler. It has been found that the status of the traveler is transformed when he overcomes a “cultural barrier” the fence, enters the developed space, and becomes a guest. The guest etiquette mainly defines behavior of the hosts, since the arrival of the guest, his welcoming and parting with him strengthened their life values, stability, and prosperity. The guest was considered to be a messenger of an alien world, so that the first series of the ritual actions was aimed at removing the “otherness” of the guest, the second series was aimed at including the guest in the home space, and the third series was aimed at seeing off the guest. Nowadays, respectful welcoming of a guest is also of a great importance, and the metaphor "the Yakut’s hospitality" has still not lost its significance.

Keywords: Sakha people (Yakuts), behavioral code, symbolic communication, road etiquette, traveler/guest, sacred guest.


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

Accepted: 16.09.2020

Article is published: 23.12.2021


Danilova N.K., Institute for Humanities Research and Indigenous Studies of the North of Siberian branch of the RAS, Petrovsky st., 1, Yakutsk, 677027, Russian Federation, E-mail:,