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    The Ova ceremony (1933)
   The meeting of the Buddha  with the Old White Man,  is celebrated in May. The Kalmyks worship the Old White Mana (Belii Staretz) as the protector of the universe and the caretaker of the year. On that day the Mantra of the Belii Staretz  is to be read: 
Om namo sulu tumu doka tulu tun 
Om tulu tulu dnya cuuxa xa xa xa 

In addition to specific shamanic rituals for the God of the Earth and water, there are also Buddhist rituals associated with theGod of the Spring and Festival for the Earth.

  Serbian women with her child 
  at the Temple
Traditional Buddhist ceremonies and holidays are scrupulously observed by the Kalmyks every year.  The cycle of these ceremonies is comprised of four major religious dates: Tsagan Sar - New Year; Urus-Ova-the festival of Spring; Zul - festival of light; and Gal Tjal'gan.  (See a report

The Temple was also the place where all Kalmyk marriages  took the place, memorial services for the deceased were conducted etc. The cohesiveness of the Kalmyk social structure, the high sharing of cultural beliefs in religion, the maintenance of basic values all serve to perpetuate the basic continuity of Kalmyk culture and social relations.

Note: Benjamin Bergmann (1772-1856) translated several Kalmyk texts and noted his observations of Kalmyk customs. His "Nomadische Streifereien unter den Kalmüken in den Jahren 1802 und 1803", Riga 1804-5, is still an important source for the study of the Kalmyks and Lamaism in general.

see also: E.P. Bakaeva: "Buddhism in Kalmykia" ,  Elista, 1994.(In Russian)

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