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PAGANISM In this work we like to tell about some traditions and beliefs of the pre-Christian period in Great Britain and Russia. In spite of all differences both of these cultures have many similar features. We can find them in old tales, songs and lyrics of old England and Russia. Speaking of the pre-Christian period we should remember that during the last few centuries the peoples of Europe were under the great influence of pagan traditions and beliefs. Paganism is a term which is usually understood as denoting any religious act, practice or ceremony which is not Christian. Anyone practicing paganism is usually known as a pagan. Today there are neo-pagans in Britain and Russia.
WOOD – GOBLIN Wood-goblin, undoubtedly, is probably the best well-known characters of old Russian tales and legends. He is a master of forests, looks like an old man and grazes with wild animals. The wood-goblin is hostile toward people. According to beliefs, he decoys them deep into the dense forest, abducts young women and sends illness. The faith in a wood-goblin appeared when the Slavic tribes were settling woodlands, and was thought to be connected with the fear of the dense forest and powerful wild nature...
WATER – SPRITE Water-sprite lives in rivers and lakes. He is a master of waters. Water-nymphs are subservient to him. The water-sprite is pictured as an old man with a beard , his body is covered with water-plants. According to some legends, the water-sprite possesses a fish-tail. His favorite places of residence are deep pools and water-mills. The water-sprites are considered dangerous beings, and people avoid meetings with them. Sometimes the water-sprites drag people under the water to their death.
KIKIMORA . Kikimora is another being in Russian mythology which associated with forests or, sometimes, dwelling houses. She looks like a small, untidy and unprepossessing woman and lives in dwelling-houses under the floor or behind the stove. A small girl, unchristened or damned by her mother, can become a kikimora. Wizards kidnap these girls and abandon them in random houses. The kikimora avoids meeting people but tries to play pranks at night. The kikimora can tangle yarn, break the dishes and steal hens, chickens and even children. In some legends the kikimora is represented as a wood-goblin's wife.
DOMOVOY . Domovoy is a house-spirit in Russian legends. He looks like a small old man with a beard. Domovoy lives in dwelling-houses behind the stove or under the floor. In summer, he moves to a stable. He supervises the house and looks after domestic animals, especially horses. Usually he is friendly to people and helps them about the house. The domovoy avoids appearing in somebody's presence, but he can make any noise under the floor or in any secluded corners of the house. Sometimes he plays tricks on occupants of the house. According to beliefs, it is considered that the domovoy is a master of the house...
Boggart . Boggart is most commonly found in the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire. The boggarts were spirits responsible for mishaps and poltergeist activity within the home and in the countryside. They would rearrange furniture, break pots and generally be blamed for 'things that go bump in the night'. They were often found attached to families and could be helpful within the household until they were insulted in some way. The boggarts had the ability to shape-shift, and sometimes appeared in the form of animals. If offerings were left out for them they would not cause trouble. The supposed ghosts of people were also called boggarts, and the word may be have been used to explain any strange phenomena in the past.
VAMPIRES . Vampire folklore within the British Isles is surprisingly scarce, this is mainly due to the fact that the contemporary image of a vampire (a charismatic bloodsucker with a black cape, a mesmerizing stare, and a penchant for young women; plus an aversion to holy water, garlic and crosses.) is relatively recent, being the result of Hollywood portrayals of vampires. The word vampire only came into the English language in 1732.
BABA – YAGA, BLACK ANNIS. Baba Yaga is an extremely popular image in Russian mythology. The story of a bony heartless witch is widespread in all parts of Russia. The story of Baba Yaga is prime among many images of the Black Goddess. She is an old, ugly woman. She flies in her mortar with a broom at her hand, ready to sweep the clouds across the skies. She lives in a hut with chicken - legs . Black Annis is a pagan goddess in Britain. In this image we can find many similar features with Baba Yaga... She took the form of a one eyed ugly woman, with sharp teeth, long black claws and a blue face. She lived in deep forests and liked to eat little children. Sometimes Black Annis was also identified with a huge cat.
HALLOWEEN Ivan Kupala The pagans who lived in Britain two thousands years ago celebrated their New Year on 1 November. Then the Christians came and people celebrated "Hallowmas ",a three-day festival between 31 October and 2 November. 31 October was called All Hallow's Eve, and slowly the name changed to Hallowe'en. Another thing people did, to make the bad spirits go away, was to dress like witches and ghosts. Children still do this if they go to Hallowe'en parties. People often put up decorations for Hallowe'en parties, and play games. The decorations are usually black (for dark night and death) and orange (for the autumn vegetables). Midsummer Day, the 24th of June on old style. The birthday day of St. John Baptist. The popular belief was that the night before the Ivan Kupala's Day (St.John Baptist's Day) trees would move from place to place and talk among themselves; animals and even herbs would also talk to each other, because that night they would obtain magic power. To gain this power, people would gather herbs to be used for medicinal and sorcery purposes. Also, the plants were believed to be able to point to hidden treasures (in particular, the mythological fern flower); they were expected to protect from all sorts of troubles. To make sure that the herbs had the magic and medicinal effect, it was important to gather
HARRY POTTER IVAN TSAREVICH In this work I’ve given characteristics and descriptions of some popular folk beings. Writing about sacred and legendary sights and pagan holidays I try to draw a parallel between British and Russian pagan traditions and beliefs. As we can see there are many similar features in this aspect. This fact is an evidence of a common historical background of British and Russian pagan traditions. These traditions exert influence on different trends of art. We can find pagan images in literature and cinema, in customs and superstitions of modern people. The common character of some old traditions and beliefs shows the unity of human culture in general The main hero of Russian folklore, owner of magic abilities, who defeated various monsters and enemies. Ivan Tsarevich (Ivan the Prince) is the third son of Tsar Vyslav of Gorokh and Vasilisa Prekrasnaya. The main legends about him show his struggle against Koshchej for the wife (Marya Morevna) and his expedition to catch Zhar-Ptitsa (the Firebird) who used to steal golden apples from the Tsar's garden.
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