The next available expeditions are scheduled for

Team I :  May 20-31, 2002

Team II :  June 4-16, 2002

Team III: June 19-30, 2002

Team IV: July 4-16, 2002

Team V: July 19-30, 2002

Team VI: August 2-11, 2002 New!!!

Team VII :  January 5-15, 2003 New!!! WELCOME! CONTACT US:

Team III, June 19-30, 2002

    Before beginning the fieldwork with volunteers we plan to conduct an expedition in the research area. We have a list of performers presently, whose rich folklore repertories we plan to video record and audio record. Since all these people are of advanced ages, we cannot count on their participation from year to year. That is why some villages on our itineraries may be substituted for others. The area will always be the same.The work of a team will be mostly focused on 2 basic programs: 

1) Russian mythological stories (the spirits of house and nature)

2) The rituals: Whit Saturday (June, 22) and Whit Sunday (June,23)

Whit Saturday (June, 22) is dedicated to all the deceased. People go with their children to the local cemetery, where make a funeral repast on their relations' graves. You will have a unique chance to listen to the ancient  lamentations.

Whit Sunday (June,23) is one of the merriest folk holidays, here are numerous versions of this rite also. In the most interesting, on Whit Sunday in the afternoon most of the country people go to the forest. There they make wreaths of birch branches and put them on their heads. One or two women cut a young birch and form a woman's body out of it. Then women put a festive costume on this woman's body. This doll is a personification of woman's erotic essence. Then the people carry this ritual doll to the nearest river, accompanied by special ritual songs (usually of erotic content). Everybody stops near the river and sings short songs (called in Russian chastushki, somewhat similar to limericks), sing and dance in a circle, dance to the accordion. As the evening approaches women take the festive costume off the doll and throw 'the body' in the river. This calendar rite retains the idea of human sacrifice.

The itinerary is provided at the bottom of this page.

Rendezvous information

The staging area is Moscow. Volunteers will rendezvous in Moscow:

June, 19, 2002 (Wednesday)

at the Electronic Arrivals Information Desk at Sheremetievo-2 Moscow airport at 3 p. m.

Commercial stores will be available to volunteers before they go into the field, and at "Sheremetjevo-2" Moscow Airport. We always find time for volunteers to exchange money and shop for necessities before we leave for the field. After arrival we will transfer you to a simple hostel where you will spend your first night.

Next day we will all depart for our study area by train or bus. Please expect your travel day to be quite exhausting as there will be a long bus trip (7-8 hours) to the village followed by the sometimes difficult process of finalizing our accommodation. We always allow plenty of time for recuperation on the following morning.

In case of early arrival, volunteers should contact Yelena and Sergey Minyonok at: Moscow (095) 952-6583. Volunteers who arrive early are responsible for their own food and accommodations.


Volunteers should plan their departures from Sheremetievo-2, Moscow Airport:

June, 30, 2002 (Sunday)

We will be back in Moscow for one night before the set departure days. Volunteers will spend that night in Moscow, in a small hostel, departing the next day. Please do not plan your departure earlier than 10:00 a. m., Moscow time. Taxis at night in Moscow are very expensive and the Principal Investigators would be unable to accompany the volunteers because of the transportation problems. On the morning of departure, a single bus will be arranged to take the team to the airport, in time to catch the earliest flight. We can always help with alternative transport arrangements but these must be at your own expense.

The Principal Investigators are not a tourist agency, but if time is available, they will be happy to help you plan a longer stay in Moscow. Volunteers who decide to stay later are responsible for their own food and accommodations.

Please pay close attention to the dates in your visa. Usually our invitation includes one week before the project starts and one more week after it ends. If you would like to stay longer please contact our staff members: vsem@cityline


June 19  - arrival in Moscow, hostel, registration.

June 20 - departure from Moscow for Krapivna village (Roslavl district, Smolensk province), 323 km from Moscow. .

June 21  - interviews on the topics of Russian mythology in Krapivna village

June 22 -  documenting of a ritual "Whit Saturday"

June 23 - documenting of a ritual "Whit Sunday"

June 24 - interviews on the topics of Russian mythology in Krapivna village

June 25 - recording of folklore songs from Krapivna chorus

June 26 - interviews on the topics of Russian mythology in Krapivna village

June 27 - recording of folklore songs from Krapivna chorus

June 28 - interviews on a local variant of wedding ritual

June 29 - departure from Krapivna village to Moscow

June 30 - departure from Moscow  



University of Virginia Slavic Languages & Literatures Dept.Dr. Natalie Kononenko

University of Wisconsin Dr. James Bailey

University of Colorado   at Boulder Dept. of Germanic and Slavic Languages & Lits Dr._ Laura J. Olson 

Slavic and East European Folklore Association (SEEFA)

University of Kentucky Russian and Eastern Studies and Linguistics Dr. J.Rouhier- Willoughby

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Copyright 2001 Russian Folklore Expedition
Last modified: 05.17.2002