Let's first answer the question: who is fabulous Baba Yaga? This is an old evil witch who lives deep in the forest in a hut on chicken legs, flies in a mortar, urging her pestle and see mark broom. Loves to eat human flesh - young children and guys. However, in some fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not evil: it helps a good fellow, giving him something magic or by specifying the path to it.
This is such a controversial woman. In the question about how you got Baba Yaga in Russian tales, and why her name, researchers still do not agree. We will introduce you to the most popular versions.
One of them, Baba Yaga is a guide to the underworld - the world of the ancestors. She lives on the border between the worlds of the living and the dead, somewhere in Neverland". And the famous hut on chicken legs - like passage in this world; and therefore it is impossible to enter into it until it turns to the forest. And the Baba Yaga - the living dead. In favor of this hypothesis say such details. First, her dwelling - hut on chicken legs. Why on legs, and even "chicken"? I believe that "the chicken" is revised over time, "dusty", that is fumigated with smoke. The ancient Slavs it was the custom of burial: fumigated with smoke poles put the "house of death", in which were placed the ashes of the deceased. Such funeral rites existed among the ancient Slavs in the VI-IX centuries. Perhaps hut on chicken legs points to another ancient custom to bury the dead in the domowina - special houses placed on high stumps. These stumps roots go outside and really something like chicken legs.
"House of death" (1905)
And the Baba Yaga - shaggy (and spit in those days rozplitaly only dead women), weak-eyed, bone leg, hooked nose (nose up at the ceiling rooted") is a real evil, the living dead. Bone foot, perhaps a reminder that the dead were buried feet to the door of domovini, and if it is a glimpse, you could only see their legs.
That is why Baba-Yaga often frightened children - just as frightened by the dead. But, on the other hand, in ancient times, the ancestors treated with respect, reverence and fear; and, though I tried not to bother them for nothing, because I was afraid to get into trouble in difficult situations still turned to them for help. Similarly, Ivan turns to the Baba-Yaga for help when he needs to defeat the stone or dragon, and she gives him a magic ball-conductor and tells how to overcome the enemy.
According to another version, the prototype of Baba-Yaga - woman healer who treated people. These were often unsociable women who lived far from the settlements in the forest. Many scholars derive the word "witch" from the old Russian word "IDE" ("lang"), meaning "sickness", "disease" and gradually disused after the eleventh century. Passion Baba Yaga fry children in the furnace on the shovel is very similar to the so-called rite of "peretekanija", or "primechanie", babies suffering from rickets or atrophy: the child was wrapped in "swaddling clothes" of the dough, put on the wooden grain shovel three times and was put in a hot oven. Then the child was deployed, and the dough was given to be devoured by dogs. In other versions, the dog (puppy) was put into the furnace together with the child, so he passed the disease.
And it's really often helped! But in fairy tales this ceremony has changed the sign from "plus" (treatment of child) to minus (baby fry to eat). Assume that this happened in those days, when Russia began to establish Christianity, and when actively rooted out all pagan. But, apparently, to the end to defeat Baba Yaga - the heiress people's celitelnici - Christianity still failed: remember, unless at least one of the tale of the Baba-Yaga managed someone fry? No, she only wants to do it.
Still derive the word "witch" from "agate", " to cry, putting her cry all the forces. Agate taught parturient women midwives-grandmother, woman. But also "agate" meant "scream" in the sense of "at last"to swear". Take the Witch and the word "Aga", has two meanings: "evil" and "sick". By the way, in some Slavic languages "Aga" means a person with a bad leg (remember bone leg Baba Yaga?). May Baba Yaga has absorbed some or all of these values.
Supporters of the third version you see in the Baba-Yaga the Great Mother - the great mighty goddess, mother of all living ("Baba" is in the old Slavic culture, the mother, the main woman) or the great wise priestess. During the hunting tribes such priestess witch had ordered the most important ceremony is the ceremony of initiation of young men, that is their initiation into full membership of the community. This ritual symbolized the death of a child and giving birth to adult men who are initiated into the mysteries of the tribe, having the right to marry. The ceremony consisted in the fact that adolescent boys were taken into the forest, where they underwent training to become a real hunter. The ceremony included simulation (presentation) "devouring" boys monster and the subsequent "resurrection". He was accompanied by bodily suffering and damage. Therefore, initiation rites were afraid, especially boys and their mother. What makes a fabulous Baba Yaga? She kidnaps children and takes them to the forest (the symbol of the ceremony of initiation), fry them (symbolically devouring), and also gives useful tips survivors, you have passed the test.
With the development of agriculture a rite of passage gone. But the fear remained. So the image of a woman carrying an important ceremonies, transformed into the image of a hairy, scary, bloodthirsty witch who kidnaps children and eats them - not symbolically. This helped and Christianity, which, as we indicated above, struggled with pagan beliefs and represented the pagan gods as demons and witches.
There are other versions, according to which the Baba Yaga came in Russian fairy tales from India ("Baba Yaga" - "master of yoga"), from Central Africa (stories of Russian sailors about the African tribe of cannibals - Agha, which was led by a woman-Queen)... But we will stop here. It is enough to understand that Baba Yaga is a multifaceted fantastic character, which absorbed many of the symbols and myths of the past.
Actor George Miller peerless played the role of Baba Yaga in many films-the tales of Alexander Rowe. He invented the image of Baba Yaga - dirty shapeless rags, neverchange on the body and the head, dirty gray hair, a large hooked nose with warts, protruding fangs, gleaming madly eyes, quacking voice. Baba Yaga of Miller turned out to be not just a terrible, terrible: many little kids in the movie were really worried.