2. The main forms of the calendar holidays: ideological world-looking and cosmological principles

Ancient Turkic cult of Tengre, the God of the Sky and the Sun, influenced on Turkic people spiritual culture formation.
Tatar ancestors connected the origin of such main calendar holidays as Sabantui, Dzhijen and Nardugan with the rites of public praying and sacrifice in Tengre and ancestors specters honour. These customs and rites are first of all symbolic reflection of people traditional world-looking that is the result of the centuries-old cult of reproduction of human life and of society by means of labour activity; labour is inseparable of nature – the only life source. That is why Tatar calendar rituals were marked by boundary periods yearlong when nature as Turkic people believed was presented by the God of the Sun - Tengre, could generously bestow its fertile potential with people, provide mankind continuation, receiving rich harvest, cattle offspring, etc. Rituals essence connected with the Sun cult are still preserved in Tatar national holidays despite the fact that the ideology of their parts has been changed because of Islam and Christianity (for Tatars-criashens) influence.
The archeological diggings results in the areas where Khunns, ancient Turkic and other kindred nations lived and also the great amount of the written and ethnographical sources gave evidences that solarium cult was the basis of Tatar calendar, traditional holiday culture and ceremonies. These very sources gave an opportunity to draw a conclusion that Khunns and ancient Turkic people have divided year in 3 seasons. The beginning of the year and one of these seasons was the vernal equinox holiday (so Tatar people called Sabantui). The summer solstice (Dzhijen) holiday has opened the second season and the wintry solstice holiday (Nardugan) – the third season. The source of this 3 Tengrian holidays is three-dimensional conception of universe that is typical for most mythological traditions including Turkic (“upper world” – the dwelling of supernatural  forces and divine forefathers “middle world” – people’s world, “lower world” – underground kingdom, inhabited by dead men and infernal spirits).
The idea about life circulation was connected with this concept. It was the idea about role of upper world that sanctioned and fecundated life and middle and lower worlds that beard direct relation to birth. On the other hand, cycle of agricultural works was connected with natural phenomenon and season’s climate fluctuations has influenced on the fact that ancient Turkic people and later Bulgar and Tatar people have divided a year into 3 seasons and celebrated 3 main holidays in the beginning of each of them.
Thus calendar holidays of ancient Turkic people according to their believes were initially carried out in the most important turning points of the year calendar – in the periods of birth, flourishing, dying and reviving of nature. Tengrianity was the ideological basis of calendar holidays. It consisted of belief in the supreme God – Tengre and worship to the spirits – cult and genealogical national heroes that considered being the messager of the most respectful diving object on the Earth and patrimonial spirits of the ancestors that had been preserved in genealogy. The 3 above mentioned calendar holidays that were held in pre-Islamic period on the state level in the turning points of season changing were also closely connected with the main labour activities of people: hunting, cattle-breeding, agriculture. It found symbolic reflection in the holiday structure and content. These 3 holidays had an appointed calendar terms to be carried out. Sabantui, Dzhijen and Nardugan are still occupying the leading place in the Tatar calendar holiday culture but their form was changed. The general unifying idea of these holidays was the idea of finishing and beginning, dying and revival of nature, its continuity. Tengrianity explained it by omnipotent of general supreme God of the Sun – Tengre.
Sabantui components analysis testifies that it in full measure correspond to the holiday that was celebrated by Khunns according to the Chinese sources in “the first moon” of the New Year. The main national holiday of Tatar people Sabantui obviously was the holiday of the New Year celebrating. Nauruz and Khamaley holidays later moved this holiday to the later terms. He occupied his place in Volga Bulgars and Tatars national calendars as the holiday of in the honour of spring and agricultural works beginning. Thus Sabantui received the new status of spring holiday of nature renewal and spring sowing beginning. Sabantui like the spring holidays of other Turkic people was personification of cosmic marriage – the marriage of person and nature. In this capacity Sabantui in Volga Bulgaria was the example of synthesis of steppe (nomadic) and agricultural (settled) cultures. At the same time it has preserved all main ancient cult components. They were directed to the harvest providing and that in its turn was connected with change of management type. Agriculture became the main kind of economic activity of Bulgars instead of cattle-breeding. Tengrian cult of worship, sacrifice to the Sun and spring praying with the requests about soil fertility thus had universal sense and allowed Sabantui to acquire the features of agrarian holiday during Tatar ancestors’ transition to the settled way of life.
After Volga Bulgaria accepted Islam that did not forbid the ancient customs, which did not contradict the Sahriat, the ruling elite value orientation towards genealogical and cultural heroes-pagans (former khans) had been changed. That also was reflected on the ritual – the main calendar holiday part. After Islam accepting national calendar was also changed. The New Year holiday began to be celebrated as Nauruz or Khamal holiday. Sabantui was moved to the beginning of May, it became the holiday of spring and sowing beginning. When on 14 February 1918 in Soviet Russia the Gregorian calendar was introduced, Nauruz became the holiday of spring meeting. Nauruz was also celebrated not only as the national holiday but also as state holiday for people, who lived on the territories of modern Azerbaidzhan, Tadzhikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and other regions that in medieval ages were under influence of Iran and Arab Khalifat.
Since 20th years of the XX century Sabantui that was carried out near the day of summer solstice has included the best components of the Tatar national holiday Dzhijen that also had ancient Turkic roots. It has preserved the best samples of Tatar people cultural heritage - songs and dancing, games, competitions and original physical exercises. Practice of Sabantui of last decades shows that people revived such traditions as carring out the competitions of chechens – national storytellers, singers and poets, ancient circular games of youth, the dancing accompanied with national songs and round dances. In national representation Sabantui, as well as many centuries ago, still continues to remain a holiday of spring and spring sowing. The practice of Nauruz carring out in the cities and villages of the Republic shows that Tatars perceive it as the holiday of winter sending-off and spring beginning. We can explain the fact that initial sense of the holiday has been preserved in the national psychology, on one hand, by conservatism of the ancient custom, on the other hand, by the peculiarity of the spring holiday itself, where not only the idea of season changing was reflected but also predominance of fertility magic in the holiday custom was shown.
Being summer patrimonial holiday Dzijen was the second after Sabantui important holiday for Tatar people. We have every reason to suppose that initially the main part of Dzhijen holiday from the astronomic point of view corresponded to the date of summer solstice and was also closely connected with the ideas of the middle of the Sun annual way, of boundary between the first and the second year parts. They celebrated change from spring waking up to flourishing, fertilization and autumn fading. In other words Dzijen seems to be the successor of Khunns holiday that was carried out “in the 5th moon” with sacrifice to the Sky, the Sun, the Earth, the spirits and the ancestors.
Pre-Islamic ideology of Dzijen contained collective scarifying to the Sun and the Sky (Tengre) and to the spirits of the ancestors with the request to grant paradise, cattle offspring and good harvest. In the days of the holiday conducting the relatives discussed urgent problems of the family functioning, first of all – the problem of the new families’ creation.
When Islam was adopted one of the ideological functions of Dzijen was to provide family continuation. Moreover, during this period state questions were discussed on Dzijen. When Tatar people had lost state organization that function of Dzijen disappeared.
Revival of the traditions of the holidays of Dzijen, Siunbel and Yђysh bђirђme promote love to motherland, sense of attraction to its history, to the history of native people, development of hard-working and respect towards older generation.
The third main holiday in the life of Turkic people, including Tatars, was Nardugan. The idea of worship to sunny deity was the holiday basis. Nardugan could be considered as some sort of successor of Khunn’s holiday that was celebrated “in Y day in the 9th moon” with sacrifice to the spirits of the Sun and the ancestors.

In Nardugan holiday, when it was the shortest day and the Sun – Tengre according to the believes of ancient Turkic people went far away, people prayed and asked the Supreme Deity to come back soon. Thus Nardugan was Tengrian holiday devoted to birth and awaking of the Sun – Tengre. To Tengre like to the spirits of ancestors people devoted their praying and sacrifice. The holiday customs (pouring with Nardugan water, making a fire on the hill and others) testified the connection of the holiday with the Sun cult. Nardugan celebration should promote the main problem of nation life – they wished to receive good harvest and to awake nature and life on the whole. Today Nardugan merged with the New Year holiday according to the civil calendar. It preserved the traditional elements and came to Tatar people life as theatrical performance, custom peculiarities of the performance are widely used in artistic practice.        

Последнее обновление: 30 мая 2014 г., 09:52

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