Universitatea din Craiova
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9 / 2015
Interdictions Associated to the Essential Elements Within the Romanian Birth and Burial Rituals
This article is a fragment of the PhD thesis entitled The Philosophy of NO – Birth and Burial Rituals and Interdictions as Life-ordering Means, which aimed to present and analyse the types of interdictions associated to the rituals performed during the two moments that mark the beginning and the end of an individual’s life on earth: birth and death, respectively. In the article, we specifically refer to interdictions that operate in relation to the essential elements (earth, water, light, darkness). Generally, these interdictions operate symmetrically on both the starting moment of the individual’s life and on its final hour. These interdictions have a double purpose. They are meant to protect the individual (and to ensure a smooth integration in the community, at birth, as well as an eventless passage to and integration in the other world, after death), but also to protect the community and to re-establish its balance when the individual enters and eventually leaves it. Our contrastive analysis had led to the conclusion that these coordinates that are subject to numerous interdictions operate in pairs and their effectiveness comes from the multiple combinations they create. The overlapping interdictions illustrate the fact that this way the unity of the world is achieved. Moreover, human destiny becomes more coherent and is inscribed in the universal one. The corpus analysed includes the five volumes of Feasts and Customs (ed. Ion Ghinoiu), which were drawn up and published between 2001 and 2009 by a research group of the „C.Brăiloiu” Institute of Ethnography and Folklore of the Romanian Academy.
Keywords: birth, burial, interdictions, rituals, essential elements.
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