Smithsonian Journeys: Waterways of Russia
Resources for Further Study
I. Principal Terms:
1. Русский Дух – Russkii dukh – Russian Spirit/Soul
2. The word “rod” and some significant words that result:
|родить||rodit’||to give birth (to)|
II. The Russian изба (izba, traditional Russian wooden house)
There is so much tradition associated with the traditional Russian izba and Russian village life. Begin here and you can follow the links.
More Traditional Items and Features of Russian Life
This wonderful pot is for boiling water, not tea. Hot water is poured into a small tea ceramic or china pot which can sit right on top to keep warm. A strong tea is brewed in the little pot, a small amount of the tea is put in a cup (or bowl, in traditional Russian practice), and then boiling hot water is added to the cup to make a proper strength of tea. Samovars were fired up outside, traditionally, and then carried inside to be set on a table for service.
See the wonderful painting by Boris Kustodiev called The Merchant’s Wife (1918) below.
2. Pech’ Печь Traditional Russian Stove
The Russian stove provided the centerpiece for the house, the internal piping was cleverly designed and highly efficient as a source of heat for cooking and heating the house. At night, people would sleep on top of it for the warmth. Nothing was more important in a Russian household than the stove.
3. Баня Banya
The Russian “banya” (baths) are a tradition common in many northern countries (Scandanavia, for example). The entire experience of the dry bath, the “beating” with the birch branches, the camaraderie, and the leisurely period of relaxation. Part of having a good banya involves storing up enough firewood! (Also think about the massive amount of wood needed for the household.)
4. Берёзки Beryozki Birch Trees
You can start here to learn about Russian birch trees, their meaning, their importance in Russian culture.
Here’s a clip that presents nice images of birch trees to accompany the most famous Russian folk song about them: Vo pole beryozka stoyala.