Bai Baianai (Sakha: Байанай, Russian: Байанай or Барилах, Altai: Баянай) is the Yakut goddess of forests and joy.
Baianai was the Turkic goddess of wild life, wealth and fertility. She was worshipped throughout what is now Altai, Sakha and Siberia, before Christianity and İslam expanded into the area. Her name means "rich, fertile, wealthy" she was daughter of Kayra.
Baianai is sometimes a woodland fairy or protector spirit found in Turkic-Altaic folklore and mythology. In Central Asia she is known as Payna. In fact there are three Baianais:
- Bai Baianai: Goddess of hunting.
- Tagh Baianai: Goddess of forests.
- Ughu Baianai: Goddess of fishery.
The word Baianai go back to some very old Altaic-Turkic roots with a meaning of "wealth", "richness", "grandness", "greatness" and "divinity".
Baianai is commonly depicted as ethereal maidens with long loose hair, sometimes also with wings. They are usually dressed in free-flowing gowns, their garments decorated with feathers by means of which they can fly like birds. Baianai is most often described as being blonde, tall and slender woman with pale, glowing skin and fiery eyes. Baianais are believed to be the very beautiful women, with an affinity to fire. They have the powers to bring about drought, burn a farmer's crops or make cattle die of high fever. It is said that when a Baianai is angered she would change her appearance and turn into a monstrous bird, capable of flinging fire at her enemies.
According to folk beliefs Baianai lives inside huge old trees, in abandoned shacks or dark caves, near the rivers, ponds or wells. Baianai comes to the human world during only the spring and stays until autumn.
- Türk Mitoloji Sözlüğü, Pınar Karaca - (Baay Bayanay)
- Мифы народов мира — М: Советская энциклопедия, 1991 (Russian)
- Türk Mitolojisi Ansiklopedik Sözlük, Celal Beydili, Yurt Yayınevi (Page - 95)
- Якутская мифология и шаманы(на руски) (Russian)
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