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About The Book

The Word and Wax explores the fascinating medical folk ritual of wax pouring used by some members of the Alberta Ukrainian community as a means of driving away fear and curing minor ailments. The ceremony is of the magico-religious and oral-incantational genre of folk medicine, incorporating Christian as well as non-Christian imagery. The Word and Wax is essential reading to anyone interested in the rich folkloric tradition brought to Alberta by early Ukrainian immigrants to Canada. The volume includes transliterations of the incantations of nine wax healers who practice or have practiced in Alberta.

Among Ukrainians in Alberta, ethnography is the study of everyday people in cultural context. It involves the study of songs and stories, material culture, customs, art, and all types of traditional elements in life. Customs at Christmas, at weddings and other special times reveal the soul of a community. Ukrainian folklore has been associated with the study of village traditions in previous centuries; now it also includes twentieth-century culture, both in Ukraine and in Canada. The Canadian Series in Ukrainian Ethnology publishes scholarship dealing with the culture and folklore of Ukrainians and Ukrainians in Canada. It is published jointly by the Huculak Chair of Ukrainian Culture and Ethnography and the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies. See Ukrainians and Alberta in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine.

About The Author


  1. M.M. Valentsova's review in Slavianovedenie, Vol. 6 (2000), pp.105-106, (in Russian)
  2. Natalie Kononenko's review in Slavic and East European Journal, pp. 377-378

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