Anuarul Muzeului Etnografic al Moldovei – XVI / 2016


The present study recomposes the historical and mythological roots of the Romanian folk motif the miraculous pair of plough pulling oxen. Since the second wave of Indo-European populations that introduced the yoke and the plough pulled by oxen, until the Middle Ages, the cult of ideal plough pulling animals has developed specific customs. The ancient Greece’s Bouphonia is still to be recalled in the cortege of the Embellished Ox performed at Rusalii or in the New Year’s Eve animal masks.

The ideal pair of the geminate oxen cutting the abundance furrow is multiplied in the agrarian folk poetry Plugușorul. In spells it has apotropaic properties, while in fairytales it possesses supernatural powers, having the day celestial body located between horns.

In the historical region of Moldavia, the aurochs and especially the ox become emblems of the founding of the national state. Their effigies are met on coat of arms, princely seals, boundary pillars and flags.

Keywords: “arator” (Latin; meaning both the ploughman and the plough pulling ox), ox, wooden vat, divine ox, “buhai” (music instrument used in caroling, producing a sound similar to the roar of a bull), “strămurare” (wooden pole with an iron end used in driving the yoked animals), herd, bovine husbandry.

Cuvinte-cheie: arator, bour, bărbânță, boul sfânt, buhai, strămurare, tamazlâc, văcărit.