Signs and Omens

Omens can be understood as signs of an immediate future occurrence or of things to come. Divided into bad (mu yor) and good (syan yor), omens not only reflect the Kalmyk nomadic lifestyle, traditions, beliefs, and the history of the people, but also regulate the daily activities of individuals through traditional rules and prohibitions. Many omens and signs are based on observations of the behaviour of various animals and natural phenomena such as the wind, the snow, etc. When animals behave in unusual or annoying ways – for example, when a dog barks and whines at the same time – usually it is interpreted as a bad omen. It is also regarded as a bad sign when it is windy in early spring or raining at the beginning of winter. Social occasions and rituals are also often imbued with prophetic significance for those who witness or encounter them. For example, seeing a wedding party is believed to bring good luck to the beholder. Apart from mobile signs (a dog barking, the wind blowing, a wedding party proceeding), static objects and patterns are also imbued with symbolic significance. If someone has a mole close to their mouth, it is interpreted that that person will be prosperous.

On this page, you can watch videos about signs, omens, dreams, numbers, characteristics of people and things etc. that many traditional Kalmyks see as a valid and important form of traditional knowledge.

Alexandra Sangadzhieva, How to Determine Quality in People

Alexandra says that smart people have a lump on their forehead, whereas skillful people have a lump at the tip of their thumb (tuula tong).


Yuriy Nurdaev, How to Neutralize a Curse