Characterization of Bulgarian Beliefs about Dragons Cover Image
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Характеристика на българските вярвания за змея
Characterization of Bulgarian Beliefs about Dragons

Author(s): Rachko Popov
Subject(s): Anthropology
Published by: Институт за етнология и фолклористика с Етнографски музей при БАН

Summary/Abstract: The author of this article has attempted to characterize Bulgarian beliefs and ideas about dragons, taking as his starting point the ancient Indo-European myth about the single combat between the god of thunderbolts (Peroun, Grum) and his rival the dragon. Analyzing the ideas about the being, preserved in the world outlook, customs and folklore traditions up to the mid-20th century, the author comes to the conclusion that a number of elements in Bulgarian beliefs about and dragons and their Christian transformations are reflexes of the initial Indo-European myth. Individual beliefs about atmospheric phenomena and processes, various ideas about the Christian saints Elijah, George, Marina and German can be considered as remnants of this myth. Along with this, the chthonic nature of dragons and their basic mythological functions as symbols of the underworld, of worldly goods, rain, water and fer- tility, ensuing from this fact are shown in the article. To prove the chthonic nature of the beings considered the author has used a variety of data and beliefs about the place, appearance, food, and ability to reincarnate of dragons, as well as their links with the world of the dead. Special attention is paid on the one hand to the features in dragons in which a certain dependence between these beings and the customs connected with rain is apparent, and a certain connection of dragons with the cult of the bear, on the other hand. As a result of the gradual dying away of the initial ideas of dragons as rivals of the god of the thunderbolt, the author also considers the new functional direction of the mythological character ensuing from this. Dragons partially lose their initial nature, and acquire a certain duality, expressed in their role as mediators between heaven and earth.

  • Issue Year: 1983
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 42-52
  • Page Count: 11
  • Language: Bulgarian