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Accepted Paper:

Emergence of Syntagmatic Models of Ritual Gestures as a Result of Violation of the Rules for Transmission of Tradition  
Dzheni Madzharov (Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski)

Paper short abstract:

The suffocation of the groom with a towel in the Bulgarian traditional wedding, as well as the choice of a ritual character by raising on hands (on St. Triphon's Day; Spring Fasting; Summer St. Ivan's Day; Palm Sunday) hides a connection with an ancient Turkic state ritual.

Paper long abstract:

In the paper I follow the emergence and development of ritual gestures in the Bulgarian tradition. When participating in various ritualized actions, some of them retain their physical shape and purpose, but acquire different meanings. I call them syntagmatic models of the ritual gestures, which are established through the method of studying the System of dimensions of the ritual gestures.

Throughout the Middle Ages, some Turkic peoples applied an ancient ritual, which legally confirmed the chosen khan in the supreme power. This ritual, known as "raising on a shield", was applied by Rome, Byzantium, Bulgaria in the election of emperors (kings). The main gestures of the ancient ritual are: raising a ruler sitting on a mat; his suffocation with a rope; three times asking how many years he will rule.

In the Bulgarian tradition, a week after the wedding, a ritual of suffocation of the groom is performed. He is asked three times if he wants the bride. There is no other similar ritual. But there are several in which the raising up of a person is a basic ritual act. Through this gesture the choice and status of different characters in some calendar holidays is confirmed: king of the vineyards; king of the mummers; Ivan's bride; lazarka. The preserved form of the two gestures − raise, suffocate, as well as their preserved original purpose suggests borrowing from the ancient ritual. In the paper I consider the reasons for the acceptance and existence of the two syntagmatic models.

Panel Perf03a
Old rituals, changing environments, new rules I [SIEF Working Group on The Ritual Year]
  Session 1 Tuesday 22 June, 2021, -