Facts from the life of the Mari
Faith ... Mari as a nation formed in the Volga region. Influenced by the Bulgar kingdom, then the Golden Horde and the Kazan Khanate, they were influenced by other people and cultures. After conquering Kazan by the Russian state and voluntary joining Bashkir lands to Russia (mid XVI century.) the resettlement of the non-Russian peoples of the Volga region to the east began. The policy of forced Christianization, carried the royal power in the Volga region, was important reason for the resettlement of Mari to the Urals, on the territory of Bashkortostan.
Despite the forced conversion to Orthodoxy, Mari people, in the next century, remained faithful to the pre-Christian religion. It is interesting to note that Mari in their homeland - the Mari region, continued to worship to their pagan gods. The main thing in paganism is a deep belief in the power of nature and its deification.
On their second home - in Bashkortostan, Mari saved their ancient traditions, more than in the Volga region. Despite the fight for atheism, they were able to defend the ancient places of prayer and sacrifice - the sacred grove, where now the most important rites of pagan worship take place. A birch is often a sacred tree in prayer groves, but it may be the other tree.Sacred Grove
Sacred Grove for Mari - it's like a church for Christian or a mosque for Muslims -is a place where people come to talk to God, thank for the gifts of life, to ask for help. In the sacred grove a fire is built and the most respected member of the community - Kart, sometimes called - "mola" prayed on behalf of all present. Prayers of people rise with the smoke from the sacrificial fire up to where they must be heard.World of the dead
The world of the dead in Mari mythology is divided into light and dark parts. It is guarded by dogs of hell. Master, Judge of underworld is Kiyamat tora, his assistant is Kiyamat-Saus. Kiyamat tora makes the dead to pass on a perch above the abyss with a cauldron filled with boiling brimstone, sinner falls into the abyss, and they find themselves in the darkness of hell, a good person gets to the light of the world, where he continued a normal life. Kiyamat tora can the dead let go on the ground for the night, that he demanded from living relatives to respect funeral rites.> On Memorial Day, each family goes to the cemetery to the grave of a deceased relative, talking with him, invites his soul and takes to itself. At Home of relatives soul is a few days, and all this time relatives talk to the invisible being, regale him and visit to the neighbors with him, show what and how changing in familiar surroundings at home and yard. When the invisible interlocutor is driven back to the cemetery, one of the living can even play the "role" of the deceased, dressed in his clothes.
Mari put at the head of the deceased three candles: the master of the underworld, his assistant and deceased person, wanting him to get to the other world.