Domovoi (literally, "one of the house") are house spirits found in Slavic folklore. They are usually pictured as gnomelike: small (perhaps one to three feet in height), friendly, old men, sometimes covered in hair all over.

Missing image

Alternative names:

Traditionally, every house is said to have its own domovoi. They are usually not considered a malicious presence, as they are seen as protectors of the home, and they sometimes help with household chores. Some families even treat them as a part of the family, albeit an unseen one, leaving them gifts such as milk and cookies in the kitchen overnight. In Polish mythology Domowoj resembles a male head of a family, living or dead.

The favorite places for these spirits to live is the threshold under the door or under the stove. Domovoi is responsible for maintaining peace and order in the household, and rewards the properly run household. Peasants made sure to feed him nightly, in return for being well taken care of and protected. When a new house is constructed, the Polish homeowner would attract one of Domowoy by placing a piece of bread down before the stove was put in, and the Russian one would coerce the old house's domovoi to move with the family by offering an old boot as a hiding place. Special care was taken to make sure to only obtain pets and farm animals he liked, as the Domowoj would torment the ones he didn't care for. Salted bread wrapped in a white cloth appeases this spirit. Putting clean white linen in his room was an invitation to eat a meal with the family. Hanging old shoes in the yard makes him happy as well. The Domowoj's behavior could foretell or forewarn about the future. He will pull hair to warn a woman of danger from an abusive man. He would moan and howl to warn of coming trouble. If he shows himself, it forewarns of death, if weeping it is said to be a death in the family. If he is laughing there are good times to be expected. If he strums a comb there is a wedding in the future.

Domovoi does have a darker side. Russian folklore dictates that a domovoi could harass horses in stable overnight in mischief, and an unhappy domovoi is a very negative thing. If a domovoi becomes unhappy for some reason, it plays mischievous tricks on the members of the household. These pranks vary from moving and rattling small objects, breaking dishes, leaving muddy little footprints, and other such minor mischief. If the family can determine the cause of their domovoi's discontent, they can rectify the situation and return things to normal. If not, the spirit's tricks may escalate in intensity, coming to more closely resemble those of a poltergeist (cf. Tomte), or threaten to stifle people in their beds (likely a myth based on sleep paralysis). More often than not, however, families live in harmony with the spirits, and no problems are encountered.

Domovoi were also to function as an oracle in the household, able to predict future happiness and disasters.

See also


  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools