Ritual Poetry

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ritual Poetry


poetry connected with folk rites of everyday life, including prose or verse exorcisms, laments, songs, and sayings.

Ritual poetry may be incantatory if independent magic effects are ascribed to it, as in koliadki (Christmas and New Year ritual songs) and vesnianki (spring ritual songs). It may be accompanying or symbolic if it accompanies, explains, or symbolizes a ritual, for example, laments or wedding songs. Or it may be a component part of a ritual act that takes the form of a play, for example, Slavic khorovod (circle dance) songs or the carnival songs of the Italians, Spaniards, and other nationalities.

In the capitalist period, ritual poetry gradually become less important in daily life. During the socialist reconstruction of society it disappears or acquires a different purpose. First to be forgotten are the exorcisms and the songs of incantation and divination. The khorovod and play songs persist longer than the others. Some ritual songs become lyrical, others satirical, and still others become part of children’s folklore.


Mel’ts, M. Russkii fol’klor: Bibliograficheskii ukazatel’, 1945–1959. Leningrad, 1961.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
His major plyas, Ajagun Nla, Oba Koso, Oba Moro and Oba Waja among others reinforced our understanding of the Yoruba worldview through innovative folk dramas which encompassed ritual poetry and traditional rhythms performed on local materials.
Regarding a strict paradigm for a ritual poetry of lament stretching across almost one thousand years, as Hollo wisely cautions, "we cannot assume that the medieval Irish oral lament was structured in the same way as the modern." Kaarina Hollo, "Laments and Lamenting in Early Medieval Ireland," in Medieval Celtic Literature and Society, ed.
Its well-preserved heritage combines ritual poetry with traditional music and dancing.
The Sabah Oral Literature Project has produced a significant and extensive archive of historical accounts, epic narratives, myths and legends, agricultural ritual and prayers, and most importantly, the complex ritual poetry that was sung by priestesses at all major ceremonies for the various gods and spirits.
Laura's research on the rinait, the huge body of chanted ritual poetry memorised by the bobolizan, formed the basis of the Sabah Oral Literature Project that was later established by Appells and their Rungus cultural dictionary.
Moreover, Toraja ritual poetry is composed in a high register of the language, full of unusual vocabulary and obscure imagery, and notoriously difficult to translate; as Rappoport puts it, its compressed, elliptical style 'stays on the edge of meaning' (Vol.
To recite ritual poetry during the making of offerings is also called mangimbo, or in western districts, ma'mammang.
Such a definition of poetry as lyrical and private activity hardly suits the context of ritual poetry, which clearly does have work to do in providing pleasure to audiences both human and non-human.
Baif's increasing independence from the court poet's ritual poetry of praise, is seen in Les Mimes, the most complex of the poems written to publicize Valois policies of unity and reconciliation.
The lemambang (bard) singing the poetry called timang or pengap, the manang (shaman) chanting the ritual poetry called pelian, and the tukang sabak (soul guide) singing the sabak poetry for a funeral are all part of a matrix of specialized singers who perform extraordinary texts for extraordinary purposes in Iban culture.
This study begins to describe and document the musical style in the singing of these three types of ritual poetry. Through aural investigation, musical transcription and determination of the musical characteristics of each type, a comparative view of these singing styles reveals distinct musical vocabularies for each of these specialists and, in the end, a distinct musical definition of each.
His death marks the final passing of a remarkable generation of Iban writers, most of them, like Henry, from the Saribas region, whose works, originally published by the Borneo Literature Bureau, captured in print something of the rich wealth of Iban oral literature, storytelling, and epic and ritual poetry. A widely admired bard in his youth, a great storyteller, and throughout his life, soft-spoken and scholarly by temperament, Apai Jatan (or Apai Chendang), as he was known to family and friends, will be greatly missed by all who knew him.