The yard in the Slavic tradition

The yard (or courtyard) of the ancient Slavs had mystical properties. Russian peasants, when they handed over livestock to the buyer, made sure that dirt, manure, straw or wood chips from the yard did not stick to the hooves of the animal, and that the buyer did not take anything of the kind with him. Because success in cattle breeding was believed to be carried over from one yard to another in this way.

As the yard adjoins the “outside” world, in Slavic tradition it is considered some sort of a transition space between the “native” and the “alien” worlds. Therefore, it can be dangerous for the household members, especially at certain times of the day and in certain calendar periods and dates. A person outside the walls of the house (as well as in the yard) is in danger from demonic spirits, the souls of the dead, and people with an “evil” eye, who could be just passing by. According to Mazur beliefs, sorcerers and witches could leave or bury various objects in the yard in order to curse the owners. For example, a hair mat (kołtun), which caused diseases and other misfortunes.

Did your ancestors use any special methods to protect the yard?

To be continued…
Artist: Yuri Patsan
yard