В поисках горячего очага: огонь в фольклоре и жизни ямальских ненцев

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


In the traditional culture of the peoples of the North, fire is believed to be animate and is treated with care and respect. The cult of fire is reflected in folklore, religion and multiple rules of behavior. The fire in a fireplace should be nursed and ‘fed’ only by the ‘people of the fireplace’, it must not be set burning by outsiders, even relatives, since they have their own fire. The fire provides heat, is used for cooking and unifies the family. The present article is based on Nenets materials and looks into the following ideas of fire: 1) fire as a symbol of protection; 2) fire as a unifying agent; and 3) using fire as a means of purification and an amulet for people, deer and the entire space of tundra. In Nenets folklore fire acts as a helper and warns people of danger, but it can also kill. Fire is considered to be of light and divine nature, it is supposed to be ‘fed’ by ‘pure food’. Meanwhile in the recent years many of Yamal tundra populations’ taboos related to stove fire have weakened, so that this fire can be used, for instance, for burning garbage. Along with this a special cult of open fire inside the chum persists. Even in the modern age of high technologies and the development of oil-and-gas industry, the populations of Yamal tundras continue to kindle open fire and keep it alive with wood, as they did centuries ago.
Original languageRussian
Article number9
Pages (from-to)166-187
Number of pages22
JournalÈtnografiâ (Sankt-Peterburg)
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed