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Sacred Places in the Nenets Traditional Culture

Galina Kharyuchi

Keywords: landscape; Nenets; reindeer herding; sacred sites; sacrificial rituals; sanctuaries

The Nenets people have various forms of worshipping spirits in their sacred landscapes. The article examines the history, definitions, and classifications of forms of worship of the Nenets sacred places (khebidia ia). Cult structures (khekhe) include objects of nature as well as effigies of various deities installed at sacred sites or residential areas. Images of a master spirit carved in stone or wood (siadei) mark tribal or general significant sites of worship. The main activities carried out on these sacred sites relate to seasonal rituals of the life cycle and to subsistence practices such as fishing and hunting. The most important of them were sacrificial rituals.

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