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Vod – a Small Nation of the European Part of Russia with a Mysterious Past

Vod women Marina Ilina

This time we will tell you about a small nation that lives not beyond the Ural Mountains, but not far from St. Petersburg!

There are only two settlements in Russia left where these interesting people live – Vods (Vajany, Vots, Chud). These are the villages Luzhitsi and Krakoliein the Kingiseppski region. Vods are the most ancient peoples of North-West Russia and the smallest.

According to the census of 2010 in Russia, there are only 64 representatives of this nation. And even fewer of them speak their native language.

What are They – Vods?

No wonder that Vods are considered to be the blondestnation in the world. 8 out of 10 people have blonde hair: golden blond or snow white. Tall, stately and blue-eyed Vod women are particularly beautiful.

In the records of the Russian Empire Vods are described as lively and open people, noting their sharp wit and intelligence. Perhaps it is their openness that led to the fact that this ancient nation disappeared among the Slavs.

A Little History

The first information about Vods goes back to the beginning of the XI century. This independent nation inhabited one of the Novgorod areas near the Gulf of Finland.

In foreign sources of the end of the XII century Vods are called Vatlands, and the area of their settlement –Vatlandia.

More than once the lands of the Vods were invaded – by Swedes, Finns, and the Livonian Knights. But Novgorod retained its authority over their territory.

Gradually there was a merging of Vods with the Slavs. And by the end of the XV century, when Novgorod acceded to the Moscow state, there were almost no specific mentions of this nation.

Clothing is a Sign of Age and Status

The main colors of the traditional female clothing were red and white. Unmarried girls covered their loose hair with a pretty little red cap embroidered with beads and metal plaques.

Married women clothing had some blue color in it, and in general their clothes became brighter and more colorful. After a baby was born a female’s headdress changed to red, and her clothes became simpler, barely decorated.

And 10 years later a Vod woman wore a long white shirt and a headdress made of towel–an apparel of an old woman. And she never again wore any jewelry and colorful aprons and clothes.

Preserving Traditions

Vods for a long time tried to preserve their traditions and pagan roots. They still had their ancient burial rites (cremation of the dead), they invited oracles to new babies, and Vod women shaved their heads after marriage.

For a surprisingly long time this friendly and open nation kept their ancient customs and beliefs. And even in the XX century Vods worshiped trees, stones, springs and wells. Vods villages, even at the end of the last century looked like a fabulous secret world where reigned spirits that were guarding houses and livestock, and the forest was ruled by goblins.

Saving Unique Culture

Since 2000, in the village of Luzhitsi in July there is a festival “Luzhitsi pot-luck” where you can learn about the history, folklore and the lifestyle of Vods. In Krakolie there is now a children’s folklore ensemble “Linnut” (“Birds”).

All of this will help preserve the memory of a unique culture of the Vod people.

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To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev

The photo from www.finnougoria.ru

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