Thursday, January 3, 2019

Russian Fortune Telling during the 40-day Christmas Lent

Orest Kiprensky (Russian artist, 1782-1836) Fortune Teller with a Candle 1828

In Russia, there is a 40-day Lent preceding Christmas Day (January 7), when many practicing Christians do not eat any meat. The Christmas Lent period ends with the 1st star in the night sky on January 6 – a symbol of Jesus Christ's birth. Christmas Eve marks the start of an old Slavic holiday, Svyatki, which lasts until January 19, the day Russian Orthodox Epiphany is celebrated. During this 2-week period old traditions of fortune telling & caroling are carried on by many residents. Some cook vareniki, a kind of stuffed dumplings filled with mushrooms & potatoes plus "telling objects" - tomatoes for love; coins for wealth; a bay leaves for jobs & fame; rings for weddings; & thread for travel. Some drop melting wax into water & use the resulting shapes to predict the future. Some set fire to a crumpled piece of paper using the burnt remains to predict coming events.
Konstantin Makovsky (Russian artist, 1839-1915) Christmas Fortune Telling

Mikhail Vrubel (Russian painter, 1856-1910) The Fortune Teller

Russian Mykola Pymonenko (Russian artist, 1862-1912), Yuletide Fortune Tellers 1888