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Polaznik, Polaženik: the First Christmas Guest Congratulator


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Đaković, Branko. (2002). Polaznik, Polaženik: the First Christmas Guest Congratulator. Etnološka tribina, 32(25). pp. 27-38. ISSN 0351-1944

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The custom of the reception of polaznik, a person paying the first visit to a household, belongs to the body of customs connected with Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the majority of which has been structured as a recognizable whole encompassing about forty days of that period. However, certain elements located outside of the very “core” have been intertwining, mixing and complementing each other. Polaznik (and other derivatives of the term) abounds in examples of the ritual practice, which offer great opportunities for an analytical approach. Polaznik is most often a younger man, rarely a woman, characterized by pleasant physical and other features and qualities; in some places polaznik is also an animal (ox, sheep, cock). As a rule, this person is considered to be a messenger of happiness, abundance and progress for the visited family. The custom has been practiced by the majority of the Slavic peoples, although it has been irregularly regionally distributed, then among the Hungarians, certain Caucasian peoples and in China. It has been registered in certain variants in northern and eastern Tyrol, in Great Britain, earlier to a great extent, and even nowadays with some transformations. In analytical sense, the magic component of the ritual is certainly of great interest (the procedure with the yule-log and the hearth, various fruits and so on), as well as the interfusion of various cultural elements from the contents of the agrarian and cattle-raising calendar. The presence of manistic notions connected with the ancestor worship has been noted, as well as its zoomorphic and anthropomorphic origins, and certainly its characteristic of a rite of passage

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: polaznik, Christmas, customs
Subjects: Ethnology and cultural anthropology
Departments: Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2017 11:42
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2017 11:42

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