Feeding the Cold with Jelly

This interesting custom was common in central Russia.

In May and early June in central Russia there were frequent cold spells that could destroy crops. Peasants tried in advance to prevent their troubles with the help of special rituals.

On Maundy Thursday in the villages oatmeal kissel (jelly) was cooked. Then people put the jelly outside of the window at night while saying:

Frost, frost,

Do not freeze our oats,

Eat some jelly,

Amuse us!

Sometimes jelly was left for Easter, but then the leftovers were carefully placed outside the window.

Jelly was originally placed outside the window by the eldest, the most respected of men. Later it could be done by a woman. Later also the jelly could be place in a cellar, and even in on open chimney.

Children sometimes called for animals with jelly: “Wolves, bears, foxes, martens, and hares – come to us to eat some jelly!” Then some older kid got dressed in fur coat and scared other children. In the end the children ate the jelly.

Jelly was the victim designed to appease frost.


To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev

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This article uses some materials by V. Sokolova.

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