On the Origin of the Georgian Folk Song Mumli Mukhasa (the Oak and the Midges)

Ekvtime Kochlamazashvili


Quite different versions of the folk ritual song Mumli Mukhasa (the Oak and the Midges) have been recorded in different regions of Georgia. The majority of researchers consider it a hymn conveying national optimism. The oak tree is believed to be the symbol of homeland, while the midges swarming around it and afflicting it are the symbol of multiple enemies. According to the lyrics of the song, the midges drown in water, while the oak tree survives. The Meskhian version of the song, which must be closest to the archetype, starts by mentioning God and All Saints. The following passages too indicate the religious import of the song. The analysis of the refrain at the end of each stanza reveals that the song used to perpetuate the story of the Biblical patriarch, Abraham entertaining Angels at the Oak of Mamre (Gen. 18).


Folk Song

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