Kets` village (1929) 

 According to a legend, Ket people are aliens that came from the stars.

One interesting legend says that Ket people are aliens from the stars that settled in ancient times on the shores of the Yenisei River.

Legend of the Ket people:

Kets’ Holy Things

Kets adopted Orthodoxy, but still retained the worship of animals and spirits:

  • The main mythical creature is a bear. It’s a guardian spirit, the patron of healing and an assistant to shaman. Not forgotten a ritual, symbolizing the unity of man and bear – “Bear’s celebration.” Ritual dances and ceremonies take place in bear coats. .
  • Eagle, swan and loon – especially revered birds. Kets believe that eagle taught people to shaman, and all great magicians were swans. Kets will never kill a swan. Only in the spring, when the birds come back, a ritual of shaman initiation can be held. .
  • The only god for KetsisEs. The sky is Es’s skin, the northern lights are his fire, and clouds are his mountains. But Es, who created the world, does not interfere in people’s lives, he only observes.
  • AndAlbahelpspeople. ThisishowKetscallthefirsthuman.

Unique Shamanism

The main functions of shamans are predicting the future and healing. Successors of shamanic gift were strictly alternated among Kets by sex: male, female and again male.

Clothing of a shaman is his second body. A ruined shamanic cloak or headgear were considered an omen of illness or death of a shaman.

Skilled Fishermen and Hunters

Main catch of hunters were fur-bearing animals. Kets sold the skins of squirrels, foxes, weasels, sable and ermine, deer and elk. For themselves they only kept rabbit and bear skins, venison and elk meat.

According to custom, a caught and cut up animal the hunters left where it was killed. They were women who had to bring it back to the village.

Another important activity for Kets is fishing.

How to Save Kets?

Today Russia is home to a little over 1,000 representatives of these people. Development of the Russian North leads to the temptations of civilization, which threatens the extinction of indigenous culture of Kets.


To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev

pic – by A. Lvov / Novosibirsk State Museum of Local Lore

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