Team IV, August 11- August 22, 2012
Location: Kaluga province, Liudinovo city and nearby villages Cost:$1400 Rendezvous point: Moscow End point: Moscow
West of Russia is known as the “well” of folklore traditions.
Even a place like Liudinovo – a good-sized town with many churches --
is called a “witch-town” by local people. On our 2011 expedition*
to the Liudinovo area we heard detailed descriptions of witches
who turn themselves into magpies and who understand animal
language. We also found many households which have a domovoy
(house spirit) or dvorovoy (yard spirit), a friendly presence who
foretells good or bad fortune coming to the family.
Our 2012 expedition to the Liudinovo area has two main objectives. One is to visit with local residents (excellent narrators!) and record their stories of witches, the domovoy, the dvorovoy, spirits of forest and river, and other magical personages. The second objective is to record songs from “Chernovtsy,” an excellent local singing group organized by Father Alexei, priest of Liudinovo's Kazan Cathedral and enthusiastic supporter of local folklore
our way back we will stop at the city of Kaluga to visit the
local ethnographic museum and the unique churches of the Russian Old
Believers. By way of contrast, we will also have the opportunity
to visit Russia's largest museum of the history of space flight, the
Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky State Museum of the History of
*For a volunteer's first-person account of the 2011 trip to Luidinovo, see Dr. David Galloway's article: A Journey through Russian Folk Belief and Song.