The Sealed Grave and Burial Rituals in the Context of Revenants in Ukrainian Belief

  • Alina Oprelianska University of Tartu; Taras Shevchenko's Kyiv National University


The article sets the goal of describing the Ukrainian ritual of the sealed grave and its relation to revenants, or the unquiet dead, based both on the author’s fieldwork and ethnographic collections of the turn of the 20th century. The meaning of the ritual and its variants are delineated through folk beliefs and institutionalised Orthodoxy and are defined as one of the main reasons for becoming revenants. Depending on a proper or failed funeral, the dead have different possibilities and time boundaries to visit the living. Together with biological reasons, the ritual of sealing a grave allows a seven-year period of return prior to the grave being finally sealed.



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