ETSEG DIN




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Ætsæg Din


Statue of Afsati, the Osset god of wild animals and patron of hunters, in the Osset mountains.
A shrine to god Wasterzhi.

Ætsæg Din or Etseg Din (Ossetian: Æцæг Дин, literally "Exact Faith", "Right Faith")[1][2] is the modern organised revival of the Osset native[discuss] religion, emerging since the 1980s.[3] It refers to the Ossetians, an Iranic ethnic group of Alan-Scythian stock (thus Indo-European) inhabiting lands now split between two states: the North Ossetia–Alania republic within Russia, and the neighbouring partly recognised state of South Ossetia (within Georgia).

In the context of Neopagan revival, the Etseg Din, similarly to other indigenous religions of Transcaucasia and in contrast to Slavic or Baltic religious revivals, did not need to reconstruct too much by reference to books, given that resources were preserved almost intact there.[3] In the Ossetian lands interest in Paganism developed in two different environments: in the countryside, where authentic ritual activities were resumed; and in urbanised areas where secular intellectuals began elaborating a systematic revival religion to overcome the crisis of identity of the Osset people.[3] In the latter case efforts were often bound also to local ethnic nationalism and repulse of Russian Orthodoxy and Georgian Orthodoxy as foreign religions.[4]

The Etseg Din movement is active both in North and South Ossetia. Whilst there are no figures about religious demographics for South Ossetia, in North Ossetia–Alania about 29% of the population adheres to Paganism according to 2012 survey statistics.[5]


Etseg Din Etymology


Etseg literally means "exact", "true" in the Ossetian language. Din is a cognate of the Persian Daena (Din in modern Persian), which represents "insight" and "revelation", and from this "conscience" and "religion", the Eternal Law or the order of the universe, equivalent to the Ṛta ("properly ordered", "properly bound") in all Indo-European religions.


Etseg Din Official recognition


There are attempts to turn local traditional gods into objects of national worship in North Ossetia–Alania. For example, in former times, a grove was devoted to the local communal god/saint Khetag- After the clashes between Ossetians and Georgians in 1991-92, a glade near the wood was turned into a place for pan-Ossetian worship, including religious and political rituals, with activities supervised by the Great Council (Styr-nykhas), a non-governmental committee established in 1993.[6] The Khetag celebration was approved by the 1990s' president of North Ossetia–Alania as a national holiday. A special foundation was established in order to raise funds for the reconstruction of the site, and since 1994 a big annual sacrifice is arranged at the Khetag shrine.[6]


Etseg Din See also


Balto-Slavic religions
Caucasus religions
Uralic religions

Etseg Din References


  1. ^ South Ossetia website. The Official Religions of South Ossetia. Retrieved 2013-07-31
  2. ^ Местная религиозная организация традиционных верований осетин «Æцæг Дин»
  3. ^ a b c V. A. Schnirelmann. “Christians! Go home”: A Revival of Neo-Paganism between the Baltic Sea and Transcaucasia. Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2002. p. 202
  4. ^ Schnirelmann (2002) p. 202, citing Filatov-Shchipkov (1996).
  5. ^ Arena - Atlas of Religions and Nationalities in Russia. Sreda.org
  6. ^ a b Schnirelmann (2002) pp. 204-205, citing Popov (1995, pp. 62-67) and Dzeranov (1996).

Etseg Din Bibliography


  • Schnirelmann, Victor: “Christians! Go home”: A Revival of Neo-Paganism between the Baltic Sea and Transcaucasia. Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2002.
  • Filatov, S. & Shchipkov, A. Povolzhskie narody v poiskakh natsional’noi very. In Filatov, S. B., ed. Religiia i prava cheloveka: Na puti k svobode sovesti. Moscow: Nauka, 1996: 256–284.
  • Dzeranov, T. E. Vliianie gosudarstvennykh form religii na dukhovnuiu kul’turu osetin i prichiny sokhraneniia yazycheskikh verovanii v Osetii. Paper presented at the Meeting of the ScientiŽc Board of the Russian Museums on Problemy etnokul’turnoi istorii regiona i ikh muzeinaia interpretatsiia in Stavropol’, 27–31 May 1996.
  • Popov, K. P. Sviashchennaia roshcha Khetaga. Vladikavkaz: Ir, 1995.


| Etseg_Din | Udmurt_Vos | Religion_in_Russia | Russia | Mordvin_native_religion | Druwi | Vattisen_Yaly | Adyghe_Habze | Baltic_neopaganism | Mari_native_religion | Abkhaz_neopaganism | Ossetians | Romuva_(religion) | South_Ossetia | Khereid

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