The Day of Leshy (Forest Devil)


According to the eastern Slavic myths, Leshy is the owner of the forest, the patron of wild beasts and birds. As the popular superstition goes, on October 17, the Day of Erofey, the Leshy goes underground to hibernate in the winter.

Our ancestors, ancient Slavs used to believe that forests, bogs and rivers had their own patron-spirits. No wonder once you remember that our ancestors lived in a wild forest, full of danger and mystery. To protect from evil spirits, our forefathers followed a strict code of rules. Firstly, they respected the spirits, greeted them, asked for their permission to hunt or pick up mushrooms and berries, thanked them for a fortunate day. Secondly, they never entered the forest without protective amulets, before which the evil lost all its powers. However, there was a day in a year when even such protection from forest spirits did not work, that was the Day of Leshy.

On the Day of Leshy people in old Russia used to pray for protection from evil charms, they even were afraid that the evil could spoil weddings. One could not go to the forest on the Day of Erofey: the Leshy was brawling before a long winter sleep.

The Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve has its own fable character – Leshy Terras Terrasovitch. Though in our case, this character is a good one, he protects the forest, takes care of animals and keeps order. The Leshy is usually kind to people, he can help to find the way out of the forest. However, he can also punish those who misbehave in the forest, confuse them and make them lose their way. You can learn more about the life of our Leshy after visiting the art-object “House of Leshy”, where you can enjoy our collection of old utensils, sleeping benches, the furniture made from old trunks and a carpet of dry pine and fir cones.