Belarusian: у завиту завитку забивали колок

Kobzar

Member
Spanish - Spain
Hello, again! I am conducting a research about the rusalki, and I want to translate and interpret a text from the oral tradition of the Homel' region in Belarus. It has been published by Виноградова, Людмила Николаевна, и Левкиевская, Елена Евгеньевна, 2012: Народная демонология Полесья, Москва, Рукописные памятники древней Руси, с. 535, нр. 281. I guess that the language is not standard Belarusian, but some dialect. There I find this sentence, which I cannot understand properly: "У завиту завитку забивали колок, шчоб русалок не бачыти". The main difficulties are in the words "завиту" and "завитку". I guess that the sentence deals with an apotropaic practice (something like inserting a stick) for not seeing the rusalki. But, even if my hypothesis about inserting a stick is correct, where is that stick to be inserted? Any help will be welcome! Thank you very much in advance!
 
  • Kobzar

    Member
    Spanish - Spain
    Just guessing, but would a swirl make any sense?
    завиток - Wiktionary
    Thank you! I think that in the meantime I have disentangled the conundrum: according to Виноградова, Людмила Николаевна, и Левкиевская, Елена Евгеньевна, 2012: Народная демонология Полесья, Москва, Рукописные Памятники Древней Руси, с. 772, "завитка," in this context, designs a bundle of ears of corn, twisted in a special way for harming the landowner. As for "завиту," it is the singular feminine accusative of the past participle of завить, "twist." Therefore, the text shows an apotropaic ritual: for not seeing the rusalki, an oak stick was hammered on a bundle of ears of corn. This reminds me of the belief according to which, for getting rid of a vampire, a stake should be hammered into the vampire's heart, the difference being that here the ears of corn replace the rusalki.
     

    galakha

    Member
    Ukrainian
    You are completely right in your assumptions. "завита" and "завиткa" are the past passive participle and noun respectively derived from a verb "вити". The verb "вити" apart from its main meaning, to howl, has another one, which is to weave. The less common meaning is mainly used in a phrase "вити гніздо" - to make a nest. But people can "звити" something too, having formed a "завитку". The simplest way to do that is to take a bunch of hay, straw etc. and tie it in a knot. The phrase "у завиту завитку" is just a figure of speech. It easily could be "у завитку".
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    This reminds me of the belief according to which, for getting rid of a vampire, a stake should be hammered into the vampire's heart, the difference being that here the ears of corn replace the rusalki.
    That makes sense, thank you.
    To be on the safe side, please bear in mind that "corn" refers here to the locally grown plants, ie. wheat, rye, barley, etc. rather than the maize.
     
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