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«Black Kite’s» Songs: Folk Nomination, State of Research and Functional Peculiarities

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The authors of the publication:
Shalak Oksana
Bibliographic description:
Shalak, O. (2021) «Black Kite’s» Songs: Folk Nomination, State of Research and Functional Peculiarities. Materials to Ukrainian Ethnology, 20 (23), 38–46.


Shalak Oksana

a Ph.D. in Philology, a leading scientific editor of the editorial staff of scientific editions of M. Rylskyi Institute of Art Studies, Folkloristics and Ethnology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (Kyiv, Ukraine). ORCID ID:


«Black Kite’s» Songs: Folk Nomination, State of Research
and Functional Peculiarities



The songs, called “black kite’s” («shuliakovi») according to folk terminology, are analysed in the article. The rite of «kite chasing», «black kite beating» is well-known in many regions of Ukraine. According to various fixations of the ritual it falls on the first day of Apostles’ Fast. Podillia recorder Serhii Venhrzhenovskyi (1844–1913) has noted at the end of the 19th century that this rite is unlucky, because it is preserved only in a few counties in Podillia (in some villages of Vinnytsia, Lityn, Haisyn, partly – Yampil and Bratslav ones), sporadically, only in such places where there are no churches, i. e. in the attached parishes, where there is no one to ban it. Women participating in the ceremony have performed the so-called «black kite’s» songs, distinguished by their archaic nature and aimed to protect chickens and hens from the hawks, especially black kites. Few researchers have emphasized the orgiastic nature of the ritual and the hidden semantics of both the song lyrics and the nonverbal behaviour of the participants, focusing on the «blackness» of the bird and the allusions associated with the death it personifies. Also important space-time coordinates, specifics, the context of songs performing, that accompany the ceremony, as well as the main functions of both the songs and the ritual itself are analyzed.



“black kite’s” («shuliak») songs; rite of «kite chasing», «black kite beating»; apotropaic, prognostic, orgiastic, funeral, purifying functions.



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