The Republic Buryatia
The republic Buryatia was constituted on the 30th of May of 1923. The republic Buryatia is a subject of Russia Federation and includes in Siberia Federal region. The administrative and cultural centre is Ulan-Uede. The territory makes up 351.3 thousand km. Buryatia is situated in the eastern part of Siberia, southward and eastward of Baikal lake.
Climate of Buryatia is sharply continental, with cold winter and hot summer. Winter is with dry frost and low rainfall. Spring is windy and, almost without precipitation. Summer is short, with hot days and cool nights, with ample precipitations in July and August. Autumn comes suddenly, without abrupt change of the weather; in some years it is long and warm. The average temperature in summer is +18.5 C, in winter -22 C, and the average annual temperature -1.6 C.
The State Emblem of Buryatia is a circle, consisted of three color stripes of the flag of the republic. Circle is the symbol of eternity. Inside the circle are waves of the Baikal and mountains, at the top of the emblem – golden “Saembo” – the traditional symbol of eternal vital force (the sun, the hearth, the moon), at the foot of the emblem – the ribbon of “hodach” – the symbol of hospitality – with the name of the republic in Russian and Buryat languages.
The ethnic history of Buryatia has been an integral part of historical way of the peoples of the southern Siberia and central Asia since ancient times. In Transbaikalia lands lived various tribes and peoples. One of interesting pages in the history of Transbaikalia is connected with legendary Hunts. Centuries-old domination of Hunt tribes, formed the first in central Asia state union, is reflected in mythology and the wonderful monuments of culture. Hunts invented stirrup, bent saber, improved composite bow, throwing darts for a distance of about 700 m, round jurta.
One of the ancient customs, which have reached our days, is respectful attitude to the fire of hearth. It is prohibited to thrust knife into fire and give fire to other house or jurta.
There are particular rules of visiting Buryat jurts. While entering it is prohibited to step on the threshold – it is considered impolite. In ancient times a guest, deliberately stepping on the threshold, was considered to be an enemy, declaring its evil intentions to the host. As a sign of good intentions it is necessary to leave arm and luggage on the outside. It is prohibited to enter the jurt with a load. It is considered that a man, doing this, has wicked bents of thief, robber. The southern part of a jurt (as a rule, from the right of the door) is man. This has kept to our days. Coming into the house it is customary to take off shoes at the threshold.
Bringing tea to a guest, a host gives a cup by two hands. The guest should take it also by two hands, demonstrating by this his respect. At meeting to a guest are offered two hands, folding by palms as when Buddhistic bowing (in this case shake of hand is carried out also by two palms). During shaman rites it is prohibited to touch a shaman’s clothes, all the more to put on something. Even a shaman seldom puts on other’s things. There is a superstition that some things, especially connected with magic, posses some power. Shamanism is opened in Siberia in XVII-XVIII centuries.
Shamanism, in strict sense, is, first of all, Siberian and Central Asian religious phenomenon. In shamanism we have to do with real spirit world, which, although differs from ours, is also integral and interesting. According to shaman mythology, shamanism appeared since the time of making the world, and the first shaman was a son of a celestial, which descended from the heaven and created a shaman. Together with shamanism coexists Buddhism.
In the republic there are 16 temples, 12 buddhistic communities. In 1741 by the ukaz of empress Elizabeth Petrovna Buddhism was declared one of the state religions. Temples became peculiar universities, in which were studied the Tibetan, the Mongolian languages, Sanscrit, written language. Monastic settlements arose. These are small quaint towns, which stood out for its appearance, type of constructions, piny and cedar parks, gilt of decorations. After the October revolution since 1927 to 1938 all 47 temples of Buryatia had been closed and destroyed. With time they were restored.
In February Buryats celebrate Sagaalkom – the new year by lunar calendar. The whole month Buryats visit each other, make presents. In the streets dancing is arranged. Traditional clothes of Buryats are furs, caps, robe of fabric, high fur boots and etc. Nomadic and seminomadic economy caused also type of food. Meat and various milk products were main food of Buryats. Of milk they prepared dry curd, skins, of mare’s milk – kumiss, and of cow’s milk – milk vodka.
In folk art the prime place is occupied by studio metal, wood, stone, bone cutting, the dominated motives were spirals. Buryats, occupied with hunting, cattle-breeding reflected in dances mores of animals, birds, domestic animals.
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Sights of Buryatia
Ivolginsky buddhistic temple is the Centre of Spiritual Board of Buddhists of Russia and his head – Bandido-hambo-lama. The prime religious building, the main temple, was built and consecrated in 1972.
Religious ceremonies are carried out in the Tibetan language.
Before entering the temple it is necessary to pass round the territory of the temple in the direction of the sun, rotating hurde – prayerful drums. Every turn of the drum is equal to repetition of the pray.
Museums in Buryatia
This museum can meet visitors with Buryat's painting, buddhistic icon – painting, traditional makes of native workers, mede by tree, horse hair, and bones. This museum has full collection of Buryat's masters. In exposition mixes the works, devoted to two schools – traditional and modern. A great interest is aroused by collection of work from «silver small pantry» of the museum.