Orochi - Religion and Expressive Culture



Although the Orochi have formally adopted Christianity, the ceremonies associated with the reverence of spirits of nature—believed to reside in the taiga, the rivers, the sea, and fire—have been preserved from ancient times. Many women were shamans. The costume, drum, and belt with metallic pendants resembled the equipment of shamans among the Nanai and Ul'cha. An ancestor cult as well as cults of the nerpa, tiger, killer whale, and the bear existed. The Orochi kept a bear in captivity for two to three years (as did the Amur Nivkh and the Ul'cha). At the end of this period, kin and friends gathered; the festival entailed leading the bear around the houses and was accompanied by food, sacrifices, games, and dances, ending with the slaughter of the animal, the ceremonial eating of its meat, and burial of its bones. Deceased Orochi were buried in the ground or laid to rest on planks on several pillars.

Ornamental arts such as wood carving, appliqué and pressing on birch bark, embroidery on fabric or leather, and the creation of fur mosaics were highly developed.

Orochi lore is very rich. Its genres are historical tales and legends, folktales, riddles, songs, and dances, as well as children's and young people's games.

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