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The Cultural Space and Oral Culture of the Semeiskie

Russian Federation  

The Semeiskie are a community of Russian Old Believers (Starovery), living in villages in the isolated Transbaikal Region. Their way of life reflects 16th and 17th century Russian folk culture, with traditionally built houses, costumes, ceremonies, music, rituals, proverbs, idioms and religious beliefs.

Semeiskis culture - Rus.Fed..jpg (169272 bytes)They have preserved their traditions which are deeply rooted in the history of medieval Russia, Belarus hands Ukraine. The Semeiskie are best known for their unique choral music, a form of old Russian church music dating from before the 17th century. Since 1935, several village choirs skilled in this music have been created.

Threats: The Semeiskie traditions are threatened with disappearance today. Principal reasons for this are the political, sociological, economical and cultural transformations taking place in the region which during several decades have undermined their traditional way of life.

Action plan: A 10-year action plan prepared by the State House of the Russian Federation includes research and documentation of the traditional culture of Semeiskie, and scientific conferences. Festivals, and a museum of the historical wooden architecture and applied arts, are also planned.