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Toward a Theory of Pre-Modern European Folk Ritual: The Case of Polish Wigilia

Slevinski, Sarah Catherine Kane (2007) Toward a Theory of Pre-Modern European Folk Ritual: The Case of Polish Wigilia. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This study aims to formulate and evaluate a methodology for the study of rituals in historical time periods. The methods developed in the field of Ritual Studies for the investigation of present-day, observable rituals are assessed in terms of their usefulness for studying rituals practiced in the past, and these methods are adapted to the particular needs of historical study using the pre-modern Polish custom of Wigilia, a Christmas Eve supper ritual, as a case study. This paper suggests that despite the limitations in applying Ritual Studies methodology to rituals practiced in the past, these methods are useful for helping to construct a generalized reconstruction of historical rituals and in using that reconstruction to understand dimensions of popular religion in historical time periods. In looking specifically at Wigilia, this study argues that the customs associated with this ritual are perceived by participants to have effective utility in their everyday lives.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Slevinski, Sarah Catherine
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairShear, Adamashear@pitt.eduASHEAR
Committee MemberBirnbaum, Daviddjbpitt@pitt.eduDJBPITT
Committee MemberSwan, Oscarswan@pitt.eduSWAN
Committee MemberKane, Paulapmk@pitt.eduPMK
Date: 13 June 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 27 February 2007
Approval Date: 13 June 2007
Submission Date: 26 April 2007
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Religious Studies
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: christmas eve; folk; folklore; polish; ritual; ritual studies; wigilia
Other ID:, etd-04262007-140653
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:42
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:42


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