In the Komi Republic, folk beliefs connected with veterinary medicine have become a subject of research only in the past ten years. The area of folk veterinary medicine includes preconceptions about the diseases of cattle and domestic animals, the ways of treating the diseases, and the preventive magico-ritual practices which were associated with specific folk calendar holidays or were established in traditions connected with stockbreeding (such as the rituals performed during buying or selling cattle, driving the herd to the pasture, or in occasional situations (mating, birthing, etc.)). The reciprocal influence of the various aspects of Komi breeding rituals was conditioned by the socio-regulatory function. The ritual practices mostly regulate social relationships in the household (home), because the welfare of a household was determined by the size and the health of the herd. The latter aspect is particularly evident in the rituals observed while buying or selling cattle. A successful acquisition of the animal and its adaptation in a new home needs making practical arrangements. It also has to do with the magical sphere of the household and, thus, establishing friendly relations between the new animal and the guarding spirit of the family and the household. Recent fieldwork materials allow us to conclude that popular views on cattle diseases and their causes, methods of treatment and prevention continue to exist alongside official veterinary medicine.
Lyudmila Lobanova, Komi Sciences Centre, Institute of Language, Literature and History, 26, Kommunisticheskaya Str., Syktyvkar 167982, Komi, Russia
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