Why did our ancestors kept … dolls behind the stove?
In ancient times, our ancestors had a cherished custom: to keep 12 dolls suspended from a string on the stove – “twists” (or “stolushkahs”), made by all means by members of the family living in the house.
It was necessary to comply with a number of special conditions and rules. For example, neither scissors nor needles can be used: either the flax fiber was wrapped in a rag and tied with a linen thread in a special way, so that the cross was oblique (this was the way the “stolushkahs” were made), or the rag was twisted and tied to form a head, arms, figures (the “stolushka” and hands were not). Sometimes a sprig served as the vertical base of the doll; somewhere they were made of birch bark.
The face was not drawn (as was the case with the punks), so that the evil spirit did not dwell. And the whole creative process was accompanied by ceremonial words – slander. Even the place where these dolls were made was provided by ritual. For example, in the collection of “Northern Fairy Tales” by N. E. Onchugov it is reported (by the way, in the story with the eerie name “Sister-Killer”) that it was supposed to be engaged in sholnyshe, i.e. just behind the stove, where every household item was kept old things, and therefore there was plenty of material for needlework. Why were such dolls needed?
This dozen of homemade products had a special name: “fevers” or “feverish”, that is, the personification of all sorts of ailments. It was believed that behind the stove they would attract diseases to themselves, saving their family from them.
The number 12 was nonrandom. On the one hand, it symbolized year-round. On the other hand, it was connected with the old legend about Kumokha. In fact, the so-called spring cold fever. And they represented her in the form of a portly woman who finds herself in the forest with her 12 sisters, who carried out the Kumokhina assignments. In the peasant hut they could penetrate the chimney, of course, to harm people. It was for this reason that they made puppets under the conspiracy words in order to immediately stop the misfortunes behind the stove.
Not only Kumokha, but each of her sisters had a name of their own, with whom she also named her doll. This is how they were called: Deaf, Staring, Grisay, Gruditsa, Decrepit, Yellow, Korkush, Ledey, Nemey, Ogneya, Puhnya, Shaking. True, in other places, Ledea was called Oznoboy, Grisay – Gnataeya, Trembling – Trechaia, Nemeuia – Nivea (death-carrying). Somewhere in this team included Snore instead of someone. But the essence of the ceremony all the same was quite common for different areas. Behind the stove, dolls-fevers hung up to a certain day (where it was up to Maslenitsa, where it was before Annunciation), and then they were burned, often with straw from old mattresses.
After burning, they made a new batch of “fevers”. If someone in the family fell ill, the corresponding pupa could be burned before the time limit (with sentences again) in order to ensure recovery. And in the cradle of a sick baby, before burning, they put such a doll. According to a later version, the reckless puppets personified Herod’s daughters, and by their presence they protected the hut and the household from “alluvial misfortune.” …
Nowadays, not everyone has a stove, and since childhood children are drawn to a computer and to a TV set, and after all such a wonderful family activity – homemade dolls to make! Should we try?