Kostroma (tradition)

Kostroma is a straw scarecrow of a girl burnt by East Slavs during the carnival season, or Maslenitsa.

There are various interpretations of the custom. Some scholars believe that the scarecrow symbolizes Mokosh. Others regard "kostroma" burning as a sacrifice to Jarilo. It is assumed that the custom of burning a scarecrow replaced the human sacrifice formerly practised by Slavic pagans.Fact|date=February 2008

In modern Russian, the word denotes a children's game where one of the players fakes their own death. It may also denote a person who died violently and whose corpse may be harmful to the living. In some Russian villages, a "kostroma" corpse is buried solemnly on Whitsuntide Eve.

The term is probably cognate to the Slavic word for "bonfire" ("kostjor" in Russian - "kost'" meaning "bone"). It is also likely that the Kostroma River and the town of Kostroma were named after the ancient custom.

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