The article deals with main features of sign characteristics of the wandering singer-beggar among the Slavs, which trace his semantic differences both from other wandering professional singers and from the ordinary beggar. Blindness is one of his main features. This infirmity is seen as: a sign of another world, of world beyond, of death (in the sense of death for the earthly affairs; as lack of knowledge about 'our world' and knowledge about the world beyond); as a sign of prophecy, knowledge and wisdom, a sign of concentration in the inner life, of a more developed spiritual activity, a higher morality and better intuition; a connection with music and the divine; predestination for the art of singing. The authoress reveals differentiated attitude of peasants towards the blind singer-beggar and the ordinary beggar, and stresses that this is due to the enhanced sacrality of the former. The power of the blind singer-beggar's blessing and curse is underlined. In the paper is made detailed analyses of the function of the singer-beggar in important rites of passage in the life of the patriarchal community - wedding, christening of a new-born baby, funeral and commemoration rituals. The semantic content of his clothing and accessories is analysed with a special attention to his stringed musical instrument and the melody of religious-legendary songs.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.