Bear's Feast

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Bear's Feast

Submitted by: Yuri Klitsenko

[Ed. Note] We believe that God's realm and His desire for His people is that we live in such a way that we strive to do no harm to our fellow human beings or the animals with whom we share this world.  By understanding these ancient cultural traditions, we can understand how so much violence, suffering and death entered into our religions. However, what we don't understand is why the vast majority of Christian leaders continue to perpetrate the violence and death instead of being the peacemaking children of God we are all called upon to be.

I have visited (by boat) Khanty settlement in Kyshik, located between the hill of male and female spirits "dancing by turning their backs forward" and the hill of sacred dogs. Man and woman are dancing in reverse way because they belong to other world ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" could be based on authentic Khanty mythology). "Holy dogs" are local spirits which help hunters to train dogs the right way.

Some Khantys in Kyshik still celebrate Bear's feast. Bear's feast is traditional veneration of the bear killed by hunter, after which the bear turns into heavenly god. Bears feast includes reindeer sacrifice for welcoming killed bear "visiting" humans, feeding and decorating bear's head, prayers, singing, dancing, birch bark mask performances etc. 4 days veneration for she-bear, 5 days veneration for he-bear ends up with transformation of the bear into god.

Khanty mobile phone cover made of fish skin.