Slovenski etnografski muzej

Številka revije 
Etnolog 9/1 (1999)
Članek v pdf obliki 
Prenesi pdf datoteko (213.91 KB)

Notions of "Good" and "Bad" Death in the System of Slavic Beliefs

Popular definition of «good» and «bad» death is connected with the opposition between the natural and violent death. This idea may be noted on the proto-Slavonic root *- mьrtь ‘destroy’ and the prefix *- ‘self’, ‘good’. Wishes of «good» death were appreciated in traditional culture as well as wishes of a harvest or house prosperity. According to people's beliefs, the “good” death means: to die by natural «self»-death, in a proper “self”-time, on the “self”-place and among near relations. The dead who died of "good" death were considered as honourable ancestors, in contrast to the dead who died of ”bad” death. The latter could not cross to the next world and became harmful demonic beings.People tried to neutralise fatal consequences of the “bad” death with special ritual actions. The principal one was striving to provide the deceased with his/her full share of the earthly blessings (food, clothes, symbolic christening, symbolic wedding and so on). Such superstition about the «walking deceased» (“ходячий покойник”) proves to be the most steady part of Slavic mythology.