World of Science. Series: Sociology, Philology, Cultural Studies
World of Science. Series: Sociology, Philology, Cultural Studies

2021, Vol. 12, No. 1. - go to content...

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Koroleva A.A. [Ritual and ceremonial culture of the Seto in the context of dual faith] World of Science. Series: Sociology, Philology, Cultural Studies, 2021, Vol. 12, No. 1. Available at: (in Russian).

Ritual and ceremonial culture of the Seto in the context of dual faith

Koroleva Alisa Andreevna
The Herzen state pedagogical university of Russia, Saint-Petersburg, Russia
Institute of the peoples of the North

Abstract. The article is devoted to the cultural analysis of the phenomenon of dual faith in the traditional culture of the small Finno-Ugric Seto people – an ethnographic Finno-Ugric group living in the Pechora region of the Pskov region and in eastern Estonia, in the counties of Võrumaa and Põlvamaa. Self-names – seto, half-believers, seto rahvas (Seto people).

Dual faith is a religious system in which pagan beliefs and rituals are preserved under the «outer» layer of Christianity. Duality is characteristic of small peoples and develops under the influence of close contacts with representatives of other cultures. Setomaa has always been an area of ethnocultural interaction between the indigenous population, Russians and Estonians. The Setos living on the territory of Russia have adopted Orthodoxy and identify themselves as Orthodox, however, in the consciousness of the Setos, the religious faith is closely intertwined with pagan rituals and traditions. The article examines the cultural and historical prerequisites for the formation of a kind of ethnocultural worldview of the Seto, such as interaction with the indigenous population, constantly changing religious and political boundaries, local military conflicts, linguistic prerequisites associated with a lack of understanding of the Russian language. A description of the main manifestations of dual beliefs that have survived among the Setos in the conditions of the dominant Christian culture is given: the interweaving of pagan beliefs with Orthodox traditions in rituals and traditional holidays, the identification of Orthodox saints with pagan gods and heroes of the epic. The phenomenon of the Seto dual faith has been little studied and is of particular interest, since the Setos, having adopted Orthodoxy, preserved the ancient elements of the Finno-Ugric pagan beliefs, and, at the same time, assimilated many features of Slavic paganism, which determined the originality of their traditional culture and ethnoreligious identity.

Keywords: ethnocultural studies; dual faith; Seto; traditional culture; Orthodoxy; paganism; ethnic identity; culture; traditions; rituals; Finno-Ugric peoples

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