Clan Rituals

Although separated territorially from the rest of the Mongolian world, contemporary Kalmyks continue to practice customs common among other Mongolian groups, including various rituals that preserve and perpetuate kinship links. The main aim of clan rituals is to preserve and consolidate kinship groups not only by worshiping the clan or local deities, appeasing ancestors, and cleansing native land but also by engaging all clan or family members in the ritual. Clan rituals are often performed by inviting a Buddhist monk or a ritual specialist (medlgch) who reads mantras, prayers, and gives advice.

Agvan Eshey, About Gal Tyalgn

Lama Agvan Eshey say that rituals of worshipping fire (gal tyalgn) and making offerings to the spirits of water (usn tyaklgn) are popular in Kalmykia. People perform these rituals, which are conducted by a lama, on their clan’s land. In the past, Kalmyks were shamans (or worshippers of the sky). Despite the spread of Buddhism among them, Kalmyks continued to adhere to their old traditions. These two rituals are performed differently among different clans. Although animal sacrifice is against the teachings of Buddha, a compromise can be found during such rituals.

During gal tyalgn the offerings to gods include the best of food. This ritual is performed in order to heal people and remove negative things. It also helps people unite, and symbolizes a bright beginning.


Dordzhi-Tseren Bagshi, Gal Tyalgn


Gal Tyalgn, The Ritual of Offering to Protecting Spirits


Sangadzhi Kononov, About the Worship of the Masters of Land and Water


Telo Tulku Rinpoche, Purification Rituals


Vladimir Boldyrev, About Making Offerings to a Fire, Land and Water