Red hill - that during a holiday with a strange name?
This holiday is perceived by many as church. According to my grandmother, in their village the Red hill was a patronal feast day. That is this day consecration of one of thrones of the local temple was noted. Perhaps, I am mistaken, but I am taken by doubts: whether there can be a holiday of the Red hill prestolny? It is not a church holiday at all! the Church holiday approximately is really celebrated at this time by
- it is so-called Fomino Sunday, memory of the apostle Thomas. That which wanted to be convinced of corporal revival of Jesus with own hand. It is celebrated throughout Easter, in a week why is called still as the Low Sunday (“anti-“ in sense not contra, and throughout, after - and partly instead of, in memory of the repeated phenomenon of Jesus to pupils and Thomas`s assurances).
In the Internet - reference books it is specified that “A red hill“ - the national name of a holiday in memory of the apostle Thomas. Though actually all on the contrary. The holiday of the Red hill pagan and more ancient, that is is a national holiday call on a church harmony, and not vice versa now. Fomina week as if closes itself the ancient pagan holiday marking blossoming of spring, and also connected with commemoration of ancestors. Fomin`s benefit easily becomes attached week to commemoration and to a subject of death per se.
As Easter and the Low Sunday in general symbolize a victory over death, pertinent also commemoration of the dead seems here. But not as a reason for grief - they will revive to new life! And the holiday gets other emotional coloring. Communication with subject of death remains, but the spirit changes on joyful. The focus is shifted from dying to revival.
However, and pagan radunitsa are connected though not with revival, but with a meeting with ancestors. And ancestors are relatives, defenders, assistants. They come back to time, and present customs of commemoration are only echoes of the big complex of funeral ceremonies existing in old times which basis was made by a meal, joint with ancestors. The funeral ritualism is directly connected with a cult of ancestors which belongs to the most ancient beliefs which are going back to primitiveness.
As for the Red hill, we were reached by the developed descriptions of ceremonies of the 16th century (left, by the way, by Ivan Vasilyevich Grozny). In those days these ceremonies were perfectly combined with Christianity - so that priests participated in them. Though the official church against this ritualism fought (at least, against its external, frankly pagan manifestations), “the national Christianity“ organically incorporated elements of an ancient cult.
From where the name “Red Hill“ undertook? From actually hill, the hill, the height located near the village. Such “hills“ have a direct bearing on a holiday: in the ancient time heights often were cult places. There ceremonies and prayers were carried out (of course, not only there and not only at this time). It is hard to say unambiguously why the height was the favourite ceremonial place. More precisely, it is difficult to stop on the only reason. Most likely, a number of factors as “hill“ played a role here:
- the place which is allocated on the plain;
- the place which is “over the earth“ and “is closer to the sky“ (it is not excluded that “red“ means also the beautiful place, special - one of the principles of the choice of the concrete hill);
- in the spring the height (which is closer to the sun) is exempted from snow earlier that gives it special, sacral, sense in a picture of the world of the farmer depending on a solar cycle;
- besides sacral sense, the hill which dried out before other places it is simple more conveniently for celebration.
In principle, these obvious reasons it is already enough that our ancestors preferred to hold the “mass events“ on heights. Over time venues of ceremonies in itself began to be considered as sacral. Certainly, we can only build guesses, but whether so important, in effect, how it began? Anyway, custom this very ancient, reached us in finished form.
It seems to me more important sense of the name of a holiday. I met sending to opinion of certain scientists that the word “Radonitsa“ symbolizes pleasure from Jesus`s revival. I do not know a scientific source of this information. And here the academician B. Rybakov (perhaps, the largest expert in the field) recognized that value and an origin of this name is unknown! Rybakov writes “Radonitsas“, assuming communication with a sort, ancestors. Or god Rod. Also was not afraid to declare that it only the assumption …
Most likely, it is right. The name of an ancient pagan holiday - already owing to the earlier origin - could not be connected with Christianity. Besides this holiday was devoted not only to ancestors. It is one of the most important milestones of an agricultural calendar. The beginning of May is marked also by the first pasture on fields of cattle (more precisely, it is dated for close located St. George`s day), and the beginning of agricultural year.
Originally Red hill which did not have the fixed date was noted in the middle between Pancake week (vernal equinox) and kupalsky (a summer solstice) holidays - the beginning and the culmination of solar year. Rodonitsa - the middle of holidays, a meeting with ancestors, a holiday of a sort and Rod. The end of April and the beginning of May - time of emergence of the first shoots on fields in the Southern Russia. To blossoming of the nature, origin of new life the time of weddings becomes attached. On the Red Hill and church for the first time after the Lent blesses marriages.
Now there is a considerable confusion in holidays of this time: the church, connected with a cult ancestors, agricultural. It is possible to perceive it as intervention of orthodox church, absorption of national culture by it and distortion of initial sense of holidays of blossoming of spring. And it is possible to consider and as mutual enrichment, filling of ancient holidays new sense. Not replacement, but addition! Not fight of ideologies, but the interpenetration enriching both traditions. If historically so it developed that both religions intertwined (and to divide them now would be with some difficulty!) the world is better than quarrel. Especially, there is no alternative.
In what it is possible to see this mutual enrichment? For example, the pleasure from revival expectation was added to a joyful holiday of a meeting with the left ancestors (whom, as well as in old times, remember). Still weddings which are blessed now by church walk. Also festivities remained (as well as Pancake week). The Christian tradition was enriched with pagan idea of commemoration of ancestors. In particular, joint meal!
Though with purely ceremonial party church, it is necessary to recognize, actively and successfully fought - earlier funeral ceremonies were far more large-scale and richer with details. But as we see, mutual enrichment led to the fact that even the name of a holiday of commemoration, Rodonitsa - Radunitsa, gained new value.